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Updated: BattleForge PvP Guide - by Hirooo & RadicalX 2.0


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BattleForge PvP Guide - by Hirooo & RadicalX (Last Update: Q1 2023)  community_splitter.png

Hello and welcome! Since this has been requested for a while we made an update for the PvP 1vs1 deck preview Hirooo and I ended up writing more than 5 years ago. The meta has changed since then, mostly due to recent balance changes and the introduction of brand new cards. We also expanded our matchup descriptions a little bit to provide some additional information and hopefully some useful tricks. With the official release of Skylords Reborn, free PvP decks were added to the game. They have replaced our previous "deck examples". 
 

Where to find the free PvP deckscommunity_splitter.png

- Select the sword on the top right of the menu to select your 2 free PvP decks, see image below.
- Free PvP decks are fully upgraded decks, that can only be used in PvP. 
- You can select two new decks every day, if you want to switch things up.
- You can freely swap around cards in those decks with cards in your collection to customize the decks to your liking. You can do this by clicking the tab in your inventory on the top left and changing General to Free PvP and vice-versa.


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What will you find in this PvP guide?community_splitter.png

Here is what each of the sections in this guide contains:

 Regularly updated power rankings, followed by our top 3 deck recommendations for new players
 Basic deck descriptions where we point out major strengths and weaknesses and explain how to play and possibly adjust the presented free PvP decks.
 Comprehensive matchup discussion, sorted by favorable, skill based and difficult matchups. 

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[ POWER RANKINGS ]

These rankings should give you a rough overview of the state of each deck on this current patch. Do not get discouraged if your deck of interest isn't rated highly. Any deck can perform well and with a good strategy or strong micro play you can overcome matchup dependent differences more often than not. 

 

#10 Fire Frost (↓)

Currently the weakest deck on this patch, has rather unclear win conditions whenever shielded Skyfire Drakes do not dominate the matchup. Other decks that were previously considered weaker received strong buffs leaving Fire Frost a little behind. Due to the lack of faction cards Fire Frost solely relies on splash synergies whereas other factions have much more powerful carrier cards. Some strong new combos like Warlock + Core Dredge emerge, but fundamentally the faction is just less well rounded than others. That said, Fire Frost offers a very unique, fun and micro rewarding playstyle and can still be worth playing for that reason.  

Final rating: 4/10 

 

#9 Amii (↓)

This might be a surprise for some as Amii received 2 new cards, which are both reasonably strong. The reason for Amii being listed low on this ranking is the Nightguard nerf combined with other faction buffs. Amii relied the most on Nightguard usage out of all Shadow splashes as the faction does not have a very powerful response to melee L-Units. You are forced to win at early T2 in almost any matchup. While some of the most critical counter decks are a little bit more forgiving now, Amii’s major weaknesses are maintained. The lack of both large and flying combat units makes Amii incredibly susceptible to strong AoE damage effects and limits the T2 scaling. It might be the hardest deck to execute as micro-managing a lot of low energy units non-stop is a tough task, but when mastered the deck is still absolutely viable with a lot of new tricks you can make use of. 

Final rating: 6/10

 

#8 Twilight (↓)

As Twilight is receiving numerous changes, this rating is rather preliminary and might change in the near future. Twilight units are getting more and more powerful, but do not entirely compensate for the faction's downfall compared to its old times (Fire Nature was considered top 3 before the first balancing changes). Melee unit dependency and hefty deck slot limitations made it harder to keep up with other factions that kept improving. Twilight Transformations add depth to the faction in late T2 nowadays, but this can be complex in execution. Twilight can still play with very high tempo and its late T2 pushes are one of the most rewarding ones in the game. Even though the deck’s performance is not at its prime we can still recommend learning it if you are interested, it will definitely pay off in the long run. 

Final rating: 6/10 

 

#7 Pure Shadow (↓↓)

The biggest downfall compared to the last rating where the faction received a top 2 rating. Pure Shadow’s performance got worse in almost any T2 matchup. Major changes with an impact: Nightguard nerf, Burning Spears release, Twilight Crawler release and buffs, Parasite Swarm buffs, Creeping Paralysis buffs & Tranquility release. Is pure Shadow a weak faction now? Definitely not! Even though Harvester is less dominant than before, the pure Shadow T3 still is one of the most flexible and powerful ones. On top of that the faction has a lot of deck building options and unique units creating leads throughout the game. Nether Warp’s playmaking potential is beyond crazy and in the right hands pure Shadow can still turn into the overly dominant faction we used to see in the past. 

Final rating 7/10 

 

#6 Pure Nature (↑↑)

Pure Nature is on the rise. After taking the bottom spot in our last rating the recent set of changes turned out to be strong buffs overall and helped multiple nature players secure a position at the top ranks of the PvP ladder. With much more versatile tools to deflect attacks and buy time, the faction has seen a lot of improvements compared to when it was rated as the worst faction in the game. Energy Parasite might be the most micro intensive unit in the game as it is spammable and vulnerable, yet so valuable it will pay off in the long run. Great map awareness, strong micro and an easy to use L-unit make for a very well rounded and strong deck. The main weakness of this faction is its slow start as nature T1 is susceptible to high tempo play and pure Nature does not have the best defensive tools to balance this out at early T2. But once you gain control of the game, it will be hard to stop you. 

Final rating: 7/10 

 

#5 Pure Frost (↑)

Pure Frost probably has the most powerful T2 defense in the entire game. Strong counter units, endless building synergies and solid crowd control options can even compensate for power deficits. When fighting around your own wells and orbs, pure Frost has the potential to outtrade any faction in the game. It is very easy to well up and scale towards later gamestages when playing this deck, but it can be hard to obtain enough map control in the first place. Due to mobility restrictions and reliance on building synergies Frost can not cover great distances without losing out on combat power. Your enemy will be able to pick fights on his terms, block important positions on the map and disjointed units will easily be outmaneuvered. But through good unit control and resource management you can overcome this and maintain a compact defense until your Eagles get to strike back.   

Final rating: 8/10 

 

#4 Pure Fire (-)

This one streamer telling you pure Fire is bad is lying! Do not believe him, it is a deception! The faction has very dominant trading tools for combat on the ground. Firedancer is the best Siege unit to break a defender's advantage, Enforcer is overwhelmingly strong, Wildfire is extremely versatile and Juggernaut is a simple brute force siege tool, strong enough to win games on its own. No deck can leverage tempo leads as well as pure Fire does, which leads to a rating at the upper half of this list. On the downside the faction’s air control is still weak and combined with the lack of hard cc some factions can take advantage of this in T2. But pure Fire is a very powerful deck that performs perfectly fine regardless of your skill level. 

Final rating: 8/10 

 

#3 Bandits (↓)

Bandits remain to be the biggest winner of balancing changes ever since Phasetower/Mortar nerfs enabled more T1 options. The faction has a wide set of strong ground combat tools, powerful air control, reliable attacking patterns and solid defensive options despite the lack of hard cc. Unique mechanics like Bandit Sniper ability and a reasonable T3 scaling through tools like Bandit Lancer, Cultist Master or buffed Soulhunter round this up extremely well. Bandits is a versatile deck with little weaknesses to take advantage of. The faction scales fairly well throughout all stages of the game. But unlike the decks that are listed higher on this tier list, Bandits does not have this simple win condition you can use to break up evenly matched games. After various balancing changes Bandits is definitely not as oppressive and less powerful than it used to be, but it is still a great faction that deserves a spot in the top 3. 

Final rating: 8/10 

 

#2 Lost Souls (↑)

Lost Souls is just outright solid at every stage of the game, extremely powerful scaling. This makes it the most well rounded faction you can play. You have a plethora of counter tools, strong spell synergies and except for the lack of air units the faction has anything you would want from a good PvP deck. Lost Souls is the most stable deck in the game, but also a rather slow paced faction. It is harder to apply pressure throughout the early stages compared to more aggressive factions and you can leverage your tempo leads by welling up instead of attacking your opponent most of the time. This makes it easier to play compared to most other factions, but also limits its potential at perfect play. Overall Lost Souls mostly benefits from the decline of pure Shadow and Bandits and reclaims a top 2 position in the current meta. 

Final rating: 9/10 

 

#1 Stonekin (-)

Stonekin is the best T2 faction by far. Stormsinger + Nature splash support is so good, it can either carry the deck by allowing big T3 scaling set ups or simply synergize with remaining faction tools in T2 to build up a constantly growing deathball. The faction does not have very clear weaknesses as they only emerge from slot limitations. The only issue to point out is the lack of burst leading to a minor weakness to equalize early tempo deficits when getting attacked by strong Siege tools (i.e. Firedancer). But with its overwhelming dominance across multiple matchups, this won’t stop Stonekin from defending its top spot this patch. 

Final rating: 10/10 

 

[ NEW PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS ]

If you are new to the PvP, it can be difficult to find out where to start. Usually the best way of learning the basics is by sticking to one faction you enjoy playing. Get to know your cards, matchups and improve step by step. Look up some content from older players using your faction and most importantly, just play the game even if the start ends up being rough. You will naturally improve over time and after learning the basics PvP is so much fun and offers incredible strategic depth. 

For anyone unsure about which faction to pick, we will list our top 3 starter recommendation. This list will be updated with every patch to make sure it is not outdated and provides some meaningful information.

 

Pure Frost

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Lost Souls

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Stonekin

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[ MATCHUP DISCUSSIONS ]

Structure

The following ratings will go from easiest matchup (1) to the hardest one (9) for each faction. In addition to that, the matchups are divided in 3 categories: favourable, skill based and difficult matchups. The matchup description with details and a rough gameplan follows afterwards.

 

[ PURE FROST ]
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1. Deck description

Pure Frost is a very defensive oriented faction, that can be very dominant in close base encounters. War Eagles are one of the most powerful T2 units and with proper support they will provide full control of the game. Your various units are reliable and your scaling into late game is fantastic, but the deck often follows a slow playstyle limiting your options. In T1 the lack of a swift unit can get exposed, therefore you may have a lot of trouble acquiring map control. The risk of playing Frost is not as big as it used to be and with the introduction of buffed White Rangers/Mountain Rowdy there is a lot more variety making the deck interesting to play. You will be highly rewarded for learning this faction. Pure Frost dominates some decks, that are fairly strong in the current meta. Your T3 scaling is fairly solid with interesting deck building options, but late T2 air dominance is what makes this deck shine the most. 

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2. Matchup discussion

Favorable matchups:

(1) Pure Frost vs Pure Fire (-)

Used to be one of the most one sided matchups during EA times and still is clearly Frost favored at the T2 stage. Going even in T1 without taking too many risks is the way to go. Skyelf Templar, while being nerfed, still plays an essential role to establish air control, which is so important to attack pure Fire. With Skyfire out of the way, War Eagle can freely counter any M sized ground unit, which includes more than half of pure Fire’s arsenal. Be careful with using Area Ice Shield too early as Global Warming has been buffed and could counter massively. Rather try to time the spell  i.e. when a Skyfire projectile is in the air about to kill a War Eagle/Skyelf Templar. With a very controlled T2 you can dominate this matchup, but  you shouldn’t be overforcing. Upon establishing control with a strong Skyfire Drake split, pure Fire can either protect Firedancers for potent counter attacks or safely scale towards T3, where Juggernaut will outmatch you most likely. With Amii Ritual you can build a counter T3 though as the spell can block Stampede and buy time for Skyelf Sages to remove the Juggernaut before your wells and orbs get taken out. Then again pure Fire lacks tools to attack air as long as you split your units against backlash.

Skill matchups:

(2) Pure Frost vs Pure Shadow (↑↑)

With Nightguard getting nerfed, you have the upper hand in this matchup now. War Eagle being less contested means pure Frost has better chances in various trading situations and can only be matched by Darkelf Assassins. With White Rangers getting buffed you also have a solid answer to them, as their ability punishes any reckless activation of Unholy Trance. Heavy unit spam can be deflected by mountain rowdy as the ability counters low hp ground units and the slow buys time to catch and out-micro your opponent. Harvester usually does not work against Lighblade + War Eagle + Frostbite. Stormsinger will always be a good addition into your unit mix and should establish full control in T2. Since most Shadow units are pretty cheap it will get harder to split them up later into the game, strengthening your AoE tools i.e. War Eagle scream is more efficient. Just keep in mind to avoid heavy unit stacking yourself, because Aura of Corruption counters low mobility single area attacks. Play around the high spell cooldown or split up your attack. Freezing units with Liveweaving is extremely effective, because the two damage reductions don't stack. A nice micro trick in this matchup is to cancel out War Eagle screams in order to bait out a Nether Warp dodge attempt. The T3 stage is rather dangerous since Frost relies on unit spam to finish the game, which can be hard countered by Voidstorm. The newly buffed Nox Carrier might be a soft counter to stalling base gameplay around Amii ritual.

(3) Pure Frost vs Lost Souls (↑)

With nerfs to Nightguard, pure Frost tends to have the upper hand at T2 given that you don’t lose out on T1. Giving up a little bit of map control is fine as long as you have enough space to take a couple wells and don’t get locked out of T3 entirely. Lost Souls will mainly use Darkelf Assassins + Stormsinger + Frostbite in trades, which can be easily matched by Mountain Rowdy and White Rangers as long as you don’t run into a large tempo deficit. Taking extra wells is safe more often than not. Souls does not have any air unit, so try to get a good position for your War Eagle. Cliffs are ideal as they protect against the Stormsinger ability and also ensure an escape path whenever necessary. Be careful with putting too many resources into a single area attack though as a slow army will always be susceptible to an Aura of Corruption. Defending Lost Reaver is not a big deal due to Lightblade and War Eagle, but you still need to split against him as the Nasty Surprise combo can be devastating. In T3 both decks are fairly similar, but Lost Souls is slightly stronger here due to access to stronger spell synergies and the more flexible slot distribution usually leading to a bigger T3 investment overall. You don’t need to close games on T2, but building up a lead early on is advised.

(4) Pure Frost vs Twilight (↓)

Twilight will be able to match and outmaneuver you on open ground as superior mobility and cheaper crowd control will allow your enemy to pick fights whenever he wants to. Skyfire Drake and Twilight Crawlers are fast and very dynamic units that can build up leads even though your units tend to be more stat efficient overall. The easiest way to get rid of mobility concerns is securing a close well position. Even if your slow units, especially the War Eagle, get outmaneuvered you can still set up powerful counter attacks and reinforce appropriately. Vileblood attacks can be defended with War Eagle and Lightblade, but are not to be underestimated once your opponent gets ahead. The siege damage is massive and will drain a lot of power for building protects or cc. You need to intercept any minor attack as early as possible, making sure you can weaken the attack as much as possible before it gets close for transformation. Always try to build up some Stormsingers count from neutral states as kiting works very well in trades against the melee unit heavy Fire Nature deck. Keep an eye on any attempt to play Breeding Grounds as the card generates ridiculous amounts of value. If you see it being used you have to be proactive in order to shift attention to another base quickly. If your opponent is forced to spawn at another base the Breeding value gets negated for some time. Ideally you get to punish the initial investment and take down a power well. On higher energy levels you start to outscale Fire Nature in T2. War Eagles are a dominant force and with enough power to protect them you will consistently win trades. Fire Nature has limited options to contest air units (Eruption, Gladiatrix, Skyfire Drake, Twilight Transformation). War Eagle beats Gladiatrix, Area Ice Shield can protect against burst combinations around Eruptions, so Skyfire will be the most dangerous unit to play around. If you have some cliffs for your Eagles, try to make use of them as Twilight Transformation does not function here. Depending on how many counters you have to establish air control (Gravity Surge, Defenders, Skyelf Templar), your life might be even easier in this particular matchup. Nightshade Plant transformations can be a major threat in T3, so consider playing for Skyelf Sage + Amii Ritual to block early tempo pushes. As Fire Nature often does not have deck slots for a large T3 your enemy will burn out of charges way earlier. 

(5) Pure Frost vs Stonekin ()

Even though Aggressor can be quite annoying for your War Eagles the matchup got easier since Stone Tempest received some nerfs. Stonekin still has what it takes to prevent you from executing successful attacks. Stormsinger & Spirit Hunters are fairly efficient against air units in the early T2 stage and the mix of building protects and cheap crowd control is always hard to overcome. Crystal Fiend might also play a big role in this matchup, shutting it down as quickly as possible needs to be high priority (Gravity Surge may be a very useful addition here). The constant healing over time can start a snowball that will be impossible to stop once you fall behind. Never take additional wells in early T2 without a good reason and try to scale slowly, because you might give your opponent an opportunity to play an uncontested Breeding Grounds, which almost always out-values an extra powerwell in slow paced matchups. Keep an eye on how many different cards your enemy uses in the T1/T2 stage. Stonekin often has a weakness based on slot allocation and it is important to identify which stage is the weakest. Some players might skip T1, others might try to play without a T3 to pressure you a lot in the mid game. If the energy level is high enough you can even overcome some power deficits, but you sometimes need to reconsider based on deck building whether it’s best to play for a mass War Eagle push in T2 or a T3 win.

(6) Pure Frost vs Fire Frost ()

This matchup might be a little bit harder than you might expect initially. Skyelf Templar and White Rangers contest air units and War Eagle gets rid of any M ground units that might try to attack them (Icefang Raptor vs White Rangers, Gladiatrix vs Skyelf Templar etc.) . Overall Fire Frost has a limited amount of playable units and you have fairly solid answers to these options, even the famous Frost Sorceress + Skyfire Drake combo. Mountaineer can be easily matched by Lightblade after losing his M knockback as you can force him into shield mode whenever you want. Defenders can be a strong niche option to keep contesting air control in this matchup. While everything looks very good on paper up to this point, there is one thing Fire Frost can take advantage of. With lots of slow and high health units the unit count during skirmishes is very high in this matchup making Coldsnap + Warlock a deadly combo. If a buffed Skyfire dodges your Coldsnap and the enemies one hits, you are in serious trouble. Also never use Mountain Rowdy against Warlock as the self freeze will also trigger the damage amplification. On top of that Warlock will also ensure superior T3 scaling, where Timeless One provides endless access to the Freeze mechanic. Combined with some high energy scaling T3 unit (i.e. Core Dredge) you will have a very hard time matching this. This is why a good unit split against Coldsnap in mid T2 will often make the difference between winning or losing this matchup. 

(7) Pure Frost vs Pure Nature (↑)

Frost Mage spam is not as oppressive in this matchup anymore, but can still win the game at the early stage. The strategy is still very powerful against Nature T1 on small maps and strong enough to rush greedy fast T2 attempts. Ghost Spears and Spirit Hunters are useless against knockback without cc support and Deep One gets kited against Frostbite. If you manage to get a critical amount of units (7+ Mages) while being close to the enemy's base you are set up to win. Try to stack your army to avoid getting caught and isolated by ensnaring roots and slowly push forward. Nature can shut this down by playing a very aggressive early game which confines you at your base. This is especially annoying on large maps. Try to snipe overextended units with Frostbite or Glyph of Frost to shut this down. At T2 the matchup got better for you considering Mountain Rowdy is another strong L counter for Deep One with a strong ability to shut down supported attacks. White Rangers also add strong defensive capabilities that allow you to defend every kind of attack. Your absolute main priorities need to be never letting an Energy Parasite reach your Power Wells and never allow a Parasite Swarm take over one of your L units. This is still true if it means you have to take bad trades. Investing a Coldsnap for one Energy Parasite is still 10 times better than allowing him to use the ability. Usually Stormsinger + Frostbite are your main counters, add Gravity Surge to your deck if you keep struggling. Also sacrificing L units is much better if you can not prevent a Parasite Swarm ability from getting through anymore. It is more likely to lose to nature's energy manipulation than getting overwhelmed in trades even with some energy deficits. Whenever you manage to defend successfully you can transition into counter attacks. Nature is fairly weak at defending, especially if you can split your low cost units well against crowd control. With Area Ice Shield support you can quickly opt into a well focus. Whether T3 can be used as a win condition solely depends on whether you have a solid XL unit in your deck or at least some sort of counter for Parasite Swarm. Otherwise the nature player could stay in T2 for a very long time and just zone/take over your T3 units. Energy Parasites get even more annoying because you don’t want to play a lot of Stormsingers after investing power into your T3 orb. Skyelf Sage might help, but is also rather expensive. Therefore, keeping the 250 energy for stronger T2 attacks could be the better move here. 

 

(8) Pure Frost vs Amii (↑↑)

With Nightguard being removed, Shadow Nature can not be considered a hard counter to pure Frost anymore. Mountain Rowdy and White Rangers are strong defensive tools to shut down the early aggression Amii is known for and with superior high energy scaling this might be enough to turn the tides in this matchup. A combination of Darkelf Assassins and Amii Paladins still functions dangerously well and needs to be respected when playing on 3-4 wells early on. But if you keep sufficient map control you will be able to endure these attacks and slowly scale up. Make sure to play around the Amii Paladins active ability as a reflected War Eagle scream might be devastating. The level of early pressure you need to deal with is highly dependent on player proficiency, much more than in other matchups. In late T2 War Eagles control the Battlefield, but you usually won’t be able to attack as Aura + CC is very strong and small unit attacks get shut down by Amii Phantom spam. You should be able to reach a good T3 transition, where Amii Ritual will be a key card to defend heavy Cultist Master attacks. Fortunately the spell counters Evocators Woe making your defense very reliable. A niche counter option to decimate any attempt of Cultist Master stacking would be Frost Shard. Timeless One handles any small scaled attacks. Buffed XL units like Brannoc will be weak against Coldsnap + Lightblade taunt granting ideal set up for a late game win once charges start running out.

Difficult matchups:

(9) Pure Frost vs Bandits (-)

Bandits arguably have the best tools to remove War Eagles from the map entirely making it the best deck to pick into pure Frost. Windhunter is an excellent L counter and combined with well splitted Darkelf Assassins pure Frost starts to struggle a lot. Your advantage lies within your reliable trading tools and strong defense. Fortunately Bandits do not have the strongest Siege units and need to get ahead to make good use of Rallying Banner attacks. This gives you a chance to play very defensively and stall games out until reaching T3. Stormsinger and White Rangers might be enough to play a safe mid game to then win through good trades around your crowd control or T3 scaling. Mountain Rowdy (purple) is a great counter tool to large rallying banner attacks. Counterpressure into the Minefield/Bandit Sniper combo will be extremely difficult though. If you can slow down the game and play a very controlled match you might have the upper hand. With little ways to trade into stacked Windhunters you somewhat rely on your opponent making a mistake in order to stabilize though. The T3 pattern is fairly similar as Bandits have the tools to play faster and aggressively, whereas pure Frost wants to slow down and scale into T3. Amii Ritual will be very helpful to buy time against split attacks and Frost Shard might be a card worth considering for this matchup as it counters Rallying Banner + Cultist Master spam. Soulhunter might be hard to trade against unless you play Skyelf Sage, make use of your building protects and cc tools including Lightblade. If you manage to drag out the game in T3 you should win in the long run. 

 

 

[ PURE FIRE ]
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1. Deck description

If you want a deck with offensive strength, this deck provides it. Crazy dps units & spells and an immense siege potential with Firedancer. In addition to that pure Fire has one of the best T3 units also known as Juggernaut, which makes closing out games seem quite easy. Your downside is the lack of deck variety and limited air control. The amount of viable cards is insanely limited and you end up with a fairly predictable set up. On the other hand a very clear deck structure allows you to focus on improving your execution and micro management, especially in T2. Strategic matchup approaches are not overly complex and learning the faction in a reasonable amount time is possible. In many matchups you attack with the same unit setup (2x Enforcer, 1x Fire Dancer, 1x Skyfire), which is simple but effective.

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2. Matchup discussion

Favorable matchups:

(1) Pure Fire vs Stonekin (↑↑)

The release of Burning Spears relieved a lot of pressure in this matchup. You don’t have to trade with M-units into Stone Shards anymore and with their steadfast passive the Burning Spears are extremely reliable against the knockback centric Stonekin deck. Your opponent now has to fall back to Stormsinger/Spirit Hunter + Root or Stoneshard spam, which can be outscaled rather quickly. With a certain energy level or a tempo lead, pure Fire will take over, because Firedancer can always force the Stonekinplayer away from his power well, making him lose the defender's advantage. A unit mix around Enforcer, Burning Spears and Skyfire Drake supported by the strong AoE damage spells will always come out on top in this situation. A high energy level is usually helpful for you. If the game reaches T3 and your opponent tries to play Stone Warrior (blue) + Timeless One against your Juggernaut, try to disenchant the Stone Warrior ability mid air. At this rate the ability cast goes through, enemy loses energy, the ability goes on cooldown, but you don't receive any damage. With Stampede being this powerful, snowballing is not a problem.

(2) Pure Fire vs Amii (-)

Amii solely relies on small and medium low hp ground units to trade and apply pressure. The powerful AoE spells like Lavafield & Wildfire can shut this down, which is almost the entire story of this matchup. The only unit capable of contesting the Fire army are Amii Paladins. The unit trades well into your M-units and can reflect Wildfire damage if timed properly. You need to kite them well, play around the high ability cooldown and wait until energy level rises. Lavafield gets more and more valuable over time as the spell is expensive in the first place and the high damage cap automatically adds late T2 scaling. Amii can’t diversify its unit composition, because the faction has no access to flying/large units. A slow and methodical early game usually is the best way to approach this matchup, because Amii spikes very early while falling off in later T2 stages. Getting to this position without a deficit is usually winning, because Amii lacks the tools to stop powerful Rallying Banner attacks. With little threats to your Firedancer the enemy has to walk up to you instead of playing around his base. This often exposes units that can be picked off by an Enforcer. Whereas Tranquility is not very relevant in this T2 matchup, it can be a big nuisance in T3. The spell can force out your disenchant, creating a positive trade and indirectly strengthening the threat of all remaining cc spells and buffs from Amii. Brannoc with Surge of Light and Lifeweaving support will beat Juggernaut in a direct encounter as a result. So either try winning on T2 or ensure reaching T3 with a clear tempo lead so your Juggernaut can strike first.

(3) Pure Fire vs Lost Souls (-)

Pure Fire performs fairly well into Lost Souls. Enforcer is superior to Nightcrawler/Stormsinger and Firedancers are really hard to remove. This gives you a solid advantage in open field trading as well as siege scenarios. L units are the only ones that are difficult to deal with. Mountaineer & Lost Reaver can apply a solid amount of pressure and also synergize well with Live Weaving. But with well timed disenchants and good uses of wildfire you can deflect these attacks without losing a powerwell to then start a powerful counterattack in return. In this particular matchup it's extremely important to always consider the potential impact of Nasty Surprise. It is the most disruptive spell Lost Souls can use against pure Fire and if you get caught off guard it might turn the tides in this matchup. At higher void levels you will start rolling over your opponent due to damage ramping up and overloading building protects. In T3 Juggernaut may be the best tool in the game to break through a Timeless One defense, so scaling is on your side as well.

Skill matchups:

(4) Pure Fire vs Pure Nature (↓) 

The nature matchup got more difficult than before. Parasite got added into the mix and needs to be respected as it is another tool capable of attacking heavy usage of Skyfire Drakes. You can always Disenchant the Parasite or counter with Ravage as long as no damage sources are around. The green Disenchant is recommended here, because it does not only remove the Parasite Spell, but also can grant immunity against other poison effects or Mind Control. Parasite Swarm always needs to be defended, because an unbound Skyfire Drake with Nature spell support is scary. Your overall gameplan didn’t really change. A short and aggressive T1 leading towards a low void T2 usually is the best way of controlling the game pace and preventing fast scaling. Once you win a trade you can try to push towards your opponent's power well immediately with a Rallying Banner set up. Firedancer & Enforcer convert tempo like no other faction, but with Creeping Paralysis there is another tool you need to play around in order to get consistent results. The cc duration is very long and might enable a successful well repair, but you often get to dodge the spell due to its long animation. Nature can win at a high energy point by snowballing with Deep One + Spirit Hunter setups that are still fairly hard to counter once there is enough power for heal-spam support. HP nerfs to Deep One and the Burning Spears delay this scaling point fairly well, but do not prevent it entirely. Always keep a good unit split due to the high amount of cc spells from pure Nature.If you can’t avoid high energy counts, you need to try winning through T3, because Juggernaut is still unrivaled in this matchup.

(5) Pure Fire vs Twilight (-)

A pretty specific matchup, but not too complicated to learn. At the early T2 stage Twilight Minions + Skyfire Drake is really hard to beat, because your own Skyfire Drakes get oinked and die without dealing damage at all. Twilight Minions are M Counters and stronger on a low void base than Scythe Fiends. Vileblood can be matched with Burning Spears partially, but crowd control can buy enough time to put pressure on your power wells. With energy level rising you'll have an easier time, because pure Fire will be able to match air control once Skyfire + Oink can be countered by an immediate double Eruption (155 power vs 150 power). Skyfire charges are also limited at 8, so keeping track of that might create further opportunities to win. Burning Spears trade stat efficiently into any Twilight unit except for the Crawlers. This makes them very strong considering Twilight lacks ranged units to kite them properly and Crawlers can be annihilated by an Enforcer. With Wildfire support on top of this you will win trades on the ground. Scythe Fiends can also help leveraging tempo fairly well and T3 is Juggernaut’s playground.

(6) Pure Fire vs Bandits (-)

Bandits can be a tough opponent due to its strong T2. With the tremendous buffs to Windhunter, your Skyfire Drakes lose a lot of value in this particular matchup. Gladiatrix will be an essential tool to burst down Windhunter in combination with Eruption and it is extremely important to disenchant Life Weaving that could block this combination. Bandits can build up incredible pressure even with small leads, so there might be a reward for playing a risk aversive early game in order to prevent a T2 snowball. Winning a trade against Bandit Spearmen and Windhunter in early T2 is fairly unlikely, but with Burning Spears you can at least prevent straight well focussing. If you get into a position to counter attack, look to play around close base attacks in order to utilize the high attack range from Firedancer. Saving the 50 power from Rallying Banner can make a big difference. If you manage to withstand the early attacks and trade evenly until T3 the game is almost won. Juggernaut will be unstoppable as he outtrades the Soulhunter as well as the Bandits Lancers with ease. Just make sure you don’t run into an Aura of Corruption with Stampede on cooldown.

Difficult matchups:

(7) Pure Fire vs Fire Frost (↑)

This entire match up comes down to surviving against the Skyfire + Frost Sorceress combo. It converts leads really easily and almost always comes out on top in trades. Stormsinger adds up to a really good unit mix that pure Fire will struggle against. Once you lose some of the open field trades, the snowball will be hard to stop. As the pure Fire player you want to play really passive early on to survive with the help of undazed respawns and more space for good unit positioning. Ideally you get to expose the Shield Sorceress and hunt her down with an Enforcer. The shielded Skyfire Drake can be disenchanted by Gladiatrix to allow bursting it even if it’s not entirely energy efficient. Global Warming can also be helpful in this matchup. A nice little trick to ensure better positions in this matchup is to extend your T1 and take as many power wells as possible during this stage. The Fire Frost player does not have the best tools to force an early T2 (very expensive set up and no cheap siege tools) and even then you could play T1 vs T2 for quite some time. This allows you to invest more power into your economy instead of getting a rather low value T2 very early. Once you get tempo at the late T2 stage or manage to break skyfire charges at any given point, pure Fire will roll over. Frost Sorceress will be too vulnerable without a Skyfire protecting her and units get bursted before the shield cast goes through. T3 also ends up being clearly in your favor. Fire Frost has no tools to fight against Juggernauts in T3, which can be very important on large maps that allow uncontested tech ups.

(8) Pure Fire vs Pure Shadow (↓) 

This is mostly a retrospective rating adjustment and not the result of any actual changes. We moved pure Shadow into the section of difficult matchups as we agreed that pure Shadow is just way easier to execute in this particular matchup. Burning spears might prevent a Harvester from turning games on its head, but you still can’t just sit back and wait for the Shadow player to make the first move. You are on a timer as removing Harvester power efficiently is not very likely. T3 is pretty hopeless either because Voidstorm can hard counter Juggernaut and even Netherwarp can stop stampede from destroying your base. This leads to a position where you need to create a substantial advantage at the T2 stage. You need to move out of your base and break the defender's advantage. With proper execution this is possible because of your superior trading tools, but any misstep might result in your opponent stabilizing until the first Harvester can be played. An approach to shut this concept down is to set up a Rallying Banner attack next to the enemy's base without committing entirely. You need to hover around the enemy’s base with a Firedancer, forcing the Shadow player to respond and push her away from his well. You can then summon Enforcers to protect your position and bait out further reinforcements. Your enemy either binds power into many units that can be countered by a Lava Field at some point or has to leave his base, losing the defender's advantage of spamming undazed Shadowmages safely around the power well. In both situations Harvester timings get delayed, which is good for you. Once you win a trade, you can just add pressure until you can steamroll with an Enforcer spam. A very useful micro trick here is using the Enforcers to dodge Shadow Mage attacks. During the charge animation they can outrun a shot consistently (try practicing this one in the Forge). If you dodge the first shot, your charge goes through allowing the Enforcer to win the 1v1 against the shadow mage without taking any damage.

(9) Pure Fire vs Pure Frost (-)

Even though this matchup is listed as the most difficult one for a reason, the level of pure Frost’s dominance is greatly overestimated in this matchup. Pure Fire has a very clear win condition in T3 and by making good use of tempo and defender’s advantage in T2 it is possible to reach this stage uncontested more often than you might think. If you carry Global Warming in your deck, your chances are even better. Overall it is important to play very defensively in T2 and avoid playing units that do not help you contest air control. Try to use Skyfire Drake against War Eagle and Gladiatrix against Skyelf Templar. Everything else is micro dependent. Your units are weaker in direct combat, but more mobile and you have more tools to retreat and reinforce around your own structures. After acquiring multiple units, always try to split your Skyfire Drakes against crowd control. Eruption can be used to add some extra burst, but don’t get baited into an Area Ice Shield. Try to keep as much distance from your opponent as possible as pure Frost is significantly weaker on open fields. Do not take any close wells and do not take risks like taking more power wells after winning a small trade. This will mitigate the pressure across this critical game stage. If you manage to outtrade your opponent heavily it’s better to counterattack and apply pressure by adding a Firedancer to your units mix. She can keep her distance from War Eagles and is easily protected by your army unlike the other melee units in your T2. If the Frost player starts switching to heavy ground unit support, you can always add a Rallying Banner later and run them down with Enforcers. If you trade well enough, you might get a shot of beating your opponent at late T2 or simply enable a T3 transition, where Juggernaut can take over. Considering you often want to take T3 before your opponent, Backlash can be extremely helpful whenever the Frost player decides to play extended T2 vs T3.

 

[ PURE NATURE ]
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1. Deck description

Pure Nature might be the most skill expressive faction in the game as it has an endless amount of tools you can make use for micro and macro oriented playstyles. The deck has very strong crowd control and trading tools. With Energy Parasite there is a unique mechanic of generating resource advantages without setting up siege attacks in the first place. This leads to a fairly unique playstyle none of the other factions can offer. On the downside you lack defensive capabilities since nature does have limited access to defend its power wells, especially from a power deficit. High tempo attacks will always end up problematic. In T3 you have decent scaling since Parasite Swarm scales super well into the higher tech stage. Creative deck building can also be rewarded. With various tools like Mumbo Jumbo, Tunnel, Rootnetwork or even Enlightenment you can quickly adjust the deck to your personal playstyle and surprise opponents.  

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2. Matchup discussion

Easy matchups:

(1) Pure Nature vs Fire Frost ()

This matchup is solid for you. Pure Nature is a soft counter to Fire Frost, since it's able to trade well into its units during the early stage of the game and in addition to that Parasite Swarm is a huge threat for the buffed 100+ power cost units. Fire Frost needs to establish good trades by using Stormsinger and Icefang Raptor (which got better after it received a mobility buff), which is something you can shut down especially after Ghostspears received stat buffs. Energy Parasite can always cause some trouble even though you probably won't get to use the ability too often against Skyfire Drakes, but you can slow down the tempo to safely scale up to the later game stage where Deep Ones are available, which guarantees successful trades. With Parasite against unsupported Skyfiredrakes there is more room to play out the game from ahead. In T3 you can close games fairly well even against Timeless One defense as pure nature has access to strong game finishing tools.

Skill matchups:

(2) Pure Nature vs Amii (↑)

Pure Nature gained a lot of power in this particular matchup. Nightguard dropped down in priority and as she used to shut down Deep One entirely, this is a blessing for pure Nature. With increased cost and Parasite as a strong tool to target her, you can overcome the strong early phase of the Shadow Nature deck and outscale comfortably. You need to respect the strong Amii tempo play on low energy count (Motivated Burrowers, Darkelf Assassins/Amii Phantom + CC), but with Energy Parasites pressure and even stronger crowd control tools you can stabilize more often than not. Creeping Paralysis will buy enough time to keep your Spirit Hunters safe and establish Deep Ones on the board. With more energy income nature will win out on trading and reach a position for a strong counter attack. Attacking on low unit counts is not advised as Tranquility is extremely powerful on low energy levels. On T3 the decks are rather evenly matched with a slight edge to Amii, but this also depends on deck building. That said this matchup usually ends beforehand, because both decks are good at applying pressure and none of them is built to ensure late game scaling.

(3) Pure Nature vs pure Shadow (↑)

After recent changes Parasite Swarm reduced Harvester pressure, making Rogan Kayle less mandatory for this single matchup (full duration oink -> rogan kayle ability -> full duration oink still works though). This opens up more freedom in your slot distribution and you can build the deck more towards your preferred choices. The shadow matchup doesn’t change dramatically as a result, but you will get more consistent results against other decks. For Shadow in particular Deep Ones are still solid, but with buffs to Knight of Chaos and nerfs to Nightguard it is less snowbally. Energy Parasite needs to be used carefully since Shadow Mage can one shot them, but on the other hand you can force mage spawns far away from map relevant positions and abuse the fact that they are much slower than your Energy Parasites. Your trading tools are solid and Creeping Paralysis can be very strong against the slow Shadow Mages. Root + Parasite can be useful against unitstacking. But you need to outmaneuver the Shadow player at some point in T2, because Voidstorm scaling is really powerful. T3 definitely goes in favor of pure Shadow and puts you on a timer. You could play a T3 with Abyssal Warder here as a niche soft counter to Voidstorm, but he would be less effective in other matchups.

(4) Pure Nature vs Lost Souls (-)

Pure Nature does pretty well against Shadow Frost in T2. If you don't lose tempo during the T1 the odds should be in your favor generally speaking. Energy Parasites can generate a huge amount of pressure and if you micro them very well you are in full control of the game pace. Ghost Spears & Spirit Hunters beat the core trading units in Souls, but make sure you don’t get picked off by Frostbite. After acquiring a power lead you can use Deep One & Burrowers to attack the enemies economy. Nightguard is no problem anymore since her costs have been increased and the recently buffed Parasite can remove her reliably. Try to split up your army and attack multiple areas to play around Aura of Corruption. Surge of Light is your main tool to keep up pressure for an extended time and will give you a change to overload building protections. It is very powerful, but keep in mind you immediately run out of steam once Surge of Light charges are gone. There are different gameplay options in T3, but against Lost Souls building around Mutating Maniac and Nightshade Plant can really help. Without an appropriate XL counter Lost Grigori might cause you trouble.

(5) Pure Nature vs Pure Frost ()

The dynamic between pure Nature and pure Frost has changed to some extent. War Eagle dependency in T2 is much lower nowadays, because Frost received more tools to trade. This reduced Parasite Swarm’s hard counter function within pure Nature. Unpunished Frost Mage spam can be hard to deflect in the early game even though T2 + Creeping Paralysis is offering a newly buffed tool here. You need to neutralize this strategy by playing a very aggressive early game with your Swift unit, which is snowballed by a Shaman spam. The constant free healing will be a major threat as frost lacks burst early on. Use your mobility advantage to confine the enemy in his base. To contest Shaman healing other units than Frost Mage will be required, allowing you to delay the critical Frost Mage stacking as long as you keep up the pressure. In an ideal scenario your opponent over invests into mages and loses the game right here. But keep in mind that stacking T1 M units in this matchup might be heavily punished if your opponent finds an opportunity to take T2 and clear your army with War Eagles. In T2 you have to make use of Energy Parasites to force Stormsinger spawns far away from any potential fighting area. Frost is much better at trading around its own structures with various counters to everything your T2 has to offer (White Rangers, Mountain Rowdy, Stormsinger, Lightblade etc.). Use the terrain to get a mobility advantage and also sync up your Energy Parasite movements with the rest of your army. This forces a choice where your enemy either trades with less energy or allows the Energy Parasite to use its super powerful ability. Ideally your opponent gets mentally overstrained and messes up on both ends. Against War Eagle Parasite Swarm still works very well. Try to hover around cliffs as flying units will be immune to any sorts of Gravity Surge at those areas. Deep One spam is weaker than before, but still very potent. in T3 you can use Nightshade Plant to break through Timeless One defense, making high energy games less concerning especially considering the extra value Parasite Swarm generates against T3. Just keep in mind that you are not allowed to waste too many healing charges early on as your T3 heavily depends on Surge of Light.

(6) Pure Nature vs Bandits (↑↑)

While listed as the worst matchup previously, the T2 interactions changed drastically. Deep One is not a beast anymore giving nature a much more reliable counter to Bandit Stalkers. Ghostspears and Spirit Hunters have been fairly vulnerable to Bandit Minefield in the past, but Deep One can easily move out of the radius and pull one of his enemies away from your wells negating the zoning effect entirely. Energy Parasites can apply constant pressure, especially if you prevent your enemy from getting the map center, to slow down Bandit Sniper. If you make good use of nature's skill-expressive tools you should be slightly favored in T2, because Creeping Paralysis & Hurricane are an excellent way to shut down Rallying Banner + Darkelf Assassins. Strong AoE damage tools like Thunderstorm or Mutating Maniac can stop heavy Bandit Lancer/Cultist Master spam. If your deck can handle the pressure from Soulhunter, you are set up to win. While nature favored on perfect execution, Bandits late T2 pressure can still be extremely difficult to deal with and always needs to be respected.

(7) Pure Nature vs Pure Fire (↑)

While still challenging, pure Fire can be dealt with nowadays. Parasite is a new tool in your kit to attack Skyfire Drake spam at power limit and Creeping Paralysis can be used frequently to catch Firedancers and Enforcers off guard. You need to focus on trading well through the early game, because you are not allowed to fall behind ever. Fire can take down your wells very quickly, but as long as you get to diminish the pressure from Fire’s strong Air control you will be able to scale. Deep One + Spirit Hunters is a very strong trading combo, because Deep One can draw a lot of attention, enabling Spirit Hunters poisoning all the counter units constantly. Don’t tunnel on power wells, because the damage from Burning Spears & Wildfire can’t be ignored. Try healing up your Deep One right before it drops below 300 hp unless you know your enemy already reached his power limit. You might bait greedy enemies into wasting an Eruption. Don’t spam too many units at one area to avoid Lavafield value and use excess energy for spell support, split attacks or Energy Parasite distraction. Another option of winning this matchup would be a successful Parasite Swarm swap. You can’t rely on it, but getting an unbound Skyfire Drake is close to game over. In T3 Fathom Lords can be really solid trading tools, but they can not outpace Juggernaut so do avoid T3 if possible. You can make use of another trick here though and add Mumbo Jumbo to your deck. Juggernaut often walks alone and the spell can take his ground presence away, making it impossible to disenchant any cc spells.

(8) Pure Nature vs Stonekin (↑)

Stonekin slowly outscales pure Nature during t2 as Stormsinger stacking is more effective compared to other Frost splash matchups since Stonekin has the nature cc sources to support them against Ghostspears, Spirit Hunters or Deep One. With Crystal Fiend support this used to be unbeatable, but you can potentially remove the unit with Parasite nowadays. Burrower spam also is less of a problem unless you are behind considering Creeping Paralysis can buy time with its long cc duration. Even if it’s dodged the spell can force Burrowers to move away from power wells making them susceptible to Ensnaring Roots. But as you won’t win through normal unit trading it all comes down to Energy parasite micro to generate power leads. Deep One pressure, Parasite Swarm swaps, cc chains etc. can work, but only if you get ahead. In T3 Mutating Maniac can be a game changer as the poison cloud is a lot cheaper than before, which allows you to counter heavy unit stacking more efficiently. Overall the matchup is still stonekin favored, but only to a lesser extent.

Difficult matchups:

(9) Pure Nature vs Fire Nature ()

This matchup got more difficult than before. Deep One lost some of its hp as a compensation for the buffs Nature received across the board and Fire Nature benefits the most from that power shift as the faction has solid counterplay to Pure Nature's newly buffed tools. Burrower/Twilight Crawler + Skyfire is the most mobile set up to create pressure on the map and Creeping Paralysis gets outmaneuvered. Parasite can be helpful against Skyfire Drake, but with Disenchant you can’t guarantee a removal, because unlike in the pure Fire matchup Fire Nature usually saves up power for spells instead of investing everything into the initial unit set up. Slaver can stop Deep One in its tracks and has dangerous burst potential with the 450 damage passive that can be triggered any time. Again, Mumbo Jumbo is a potential gamesaver. As Fire Nature often doesn’t invest too much power into units during an attack you often face 1x Burrower + 1x Skyfire attacks. This can be countered by Parasite Swarm + Mumbo Jumbo on the Burrower denying ground presence for a Hurricane. Your opponent has to sacrifice the Skyfire or even allow the swap, which  would be a game changing trade with how powerful unbound units are. T3 is extremely risky, because Fire Nature has more flexible options in terms of summoning the Nightshade Plant. 

 

 

[ SHADOW NATURE / AMII ]
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1. Deck description

Shadow Nature is my personal favourite deck. It rewards proactive and aggressive gameplay during the early game and it's playstyle is really fast paced. You've got no L-unit to rely on in offense, neither do you have any building protects or high defensive capabilities. Your strength lies within strong split attacks and aggressive open field skirmishing by combining the powerful shadow splash units with the cheap nature crowd control. At later T2 stages the deck doesn't offer as much as most decks, but you can still rely on a very solid T3 to close out your games once you managed to get ahead.

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Alternative deck

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2. Matchup discussion

[Reminder: Amii Paladins just got released, so some of these matchup impressions might change a little bit based on how well the unit performs - I will update the overview during the process]

Favorable matchups

(1) Amii vs Lost Souls (-) 

Amii has been known as a specific counter for Lost Souls for a long time and this functionality has not changed. Whereas both factions have almost the same set of core units, Amii has much more effective crowd control. This leads to distinctive advantages in trades. Your early T2 is clearly superior and you can set up constant pressure to a point where your opponent gets overwhelmed. The best way to snowball an advantage would be to activate frenzy on multiple Nightcrawlers at different bases and overload building protects with a well timed Motivate. Ideally you look for a timing where Coldsnap is on cooldown. In mid T2 Shadow Phoenix can also be a very powerful finisher against well clusters that synergizes extremely well with the cheap nature cc to secure strong dives. Lost Reaver + Live Weaving is the most powerful tool for counter attacking you need to respect, make sure to cycle through Nature cc and Tranquility to keep him busy. Darkelf Assassins and Amii Phantom can be used to kite and deal significant damage, even without a direct L counter. Even though the matchup is Amii favored, the main downside is the high micro requirement for execution pressure all the time. The Souls player has the luxury of scaling, he can play defensively fishing for a good Nasty, Aura etc. in order to scale up to T3. At this stage Amii ends up losing so you need to be proactive and put your units into much more dangerous territory. But if you practice this matchup enough and constantly force these beneficial T2 unit trades, you can toss any Lost Souls player around like a puppet.

Skill matchups

(2) Amii vs Pure Shadow (↑) 

Pure Shadow is easier to play against nowadays. As Tranquility allows you to kite Harvesters into infinity you don’t really sit on an early timer to get something done. Shadowmage might deflect your early attacks effectively, but as long as you play on an open field and use your cc well, you should be fine. Shadow Phoenix provides a great AoE damage tool against low pure Shadow units and Ensnaring Roots can counter Netherwarp dodge attempts. Amii Phantom is very strong in this matchup too as she leverages tempo lead very well. Against Harvester you need to play chain cc. Do not play Aura of Corruption carelessly as buffs or Skeleton Summons might counter this. From a leading position an Amii Phantom spam is able to stop a Shadowmagespam since you can use an oink to set up an engagement. With their melee mode they can disable ranged attacks, which allows them to win a duel against both Shadowmage or a squad of Darkelf Assassins. Nightcrawlers are a big threat, but for that you can switch some of your units into ranged mode and kite well due to the slow effect. Amii Paladins can be useful to trade into M oriented compositions as well, while also granting the setup for a strong nasty surprise. But at some point you need to make your move as T3 is difficult to play. Voidstorm/Aura of Corruption/Netherwarp are way too good at shutting down any aggression Shadow Nature has to offer in the late game.

(3) Amii vs Fire Frost (-) 

Fire Frost is another faction you need to beat down in the early game. Fortunately Amii has the tools to do so, but you need to make sure you don’t mess up. One massive Freeze or Lavafield might shut down early aggression which is something you want to avoid. Fire Frost is rather weak against S units. Therefore, you want to rely on Darkelf Assassins and Amii Paladins to get ahead. Icefang Raptor always needs to be respected and Amii Phantom can help kiting the unit. Amii has a pretty clear advantage in the early T2 stage. Nightguard is still an option in this matchup to deal with expensive shielded units despite the nerfs. Fire Frost usually needs a lot of time and resources to set up their unit mix, which grants your Nightguard enough safety. If the game goes to a higher void level you need to solidify a strong power lead as Lavafield can be used more frequently and you do not have the tools to match that outside of micro intensive split attacks. Your units don't have a very large hp pool which makes them vulnerable. Fortunately you can still close out games by reaching T3 as Cultist Master + CC is absurdly strong when ahead, but you should never underestimate the potential scaling options of a frost splash deck.

(4) Amii vs Pure Frost (↓)

Pure Frost used to be a very easy matchup for Amii considering Nightguard + cc used to shut down any attempt of pure Frost staying in this game. But as Nightguard got a tremendous nerf and Mountain Rowdy ends up being extremely good against ground unit stacking the matchup dynamic changed. Tranquility is a worthy replacement and the new card can help you with low energy skirmishing, but Frost will try to stall out the early T2. With the ability to scale by defending around their own base, this sets up Frost to win in this matchup. You need to break this set up, because even though you can prevent War Eagle pushes with Aura of Corruption, Frost's late T2 scaling is clearly superior. You need to make use of your cc tools, stack Darkelf Assassins and build up leads through high pace gameplay. Use Amii Paladins to circumvent Area Ice Shield with their reflection ability if necessary. A small trick that can turn the tides in this matchup is the green Dryad. Her passive negates the unholy trance downside from Darkelf Assassins and allows them to attack for 20 seconds. On top of that the aura can block poison/DoT effects, which is extremely powerful against Mountain Rowdy and might surprise even a very experienced opponent. If you play high paced in T2, you will most likely stay ahead on the power curve and even though your scaling might be inferior, T3 can be a very powerful weapon to close out leads as Ashbone + cc and Cultist Master split attacks can be overwhelming, even against a powerful Frost defense. 

(5) Amii vs Stonekin (-)

Against a player, who it not familiar with this matchup, you can probably just win this matchup by disabling some of the expensive stonekin ranged units like Stonetempest or Aggressor with Amii Phantom. She can disable half of the units and match Stormsinger equally in ranged battles. Supported with Dark Elf Assassins and crowd control you often get to overwhelm your opponent and snowball out of control. Make sure to split your Darkelfs against Hurricane (Triangle Formation) and chase down any ranged unit with one Amii Phantom. Throwing in Burrowers or Frenzied Nightcrawlers to increase pressure onto buildings is a valid strategy, but make sure to get rid of Stone Shards quickly. Against well clusters Phoenix can help to overload building protects, especially if you manage to secure a revival. T3 can be used to finish off persistent opponents as split Cultist Master or any supported XL unit can overload Stonekin T2 defense. But be careful with focussing too much on T3, because Stonekin might also play for that dependent on slot distribution. A 4 card stonekin T3 will beat your setup most likely.

(6) Amii vs Pure Nature (↓)

With pure Nature’s additional tools to punish early aggression and functional counterplay against Nightguard through Parasite, Amii is at a slight disadvantage in this particular matchup now. That said, your early trades are still powerful and especially with tranquility you can shut down the high cost trading units by surprise. The spell is very versatile and can be useful against nature across the entire game. As your trading tools are heavily outmatched by Deep One + gifted catch at higher energy levels, you need to get ahead. Burrowers can be great tools to apply pressure and outmaneuver the nature defense and leverage leads, but one misstep and a Creeping Paralysis might put an end to your push. In T3 your best chance is winning through a buffed XL unit as Cultist Master usually ends up being unable to overload the nature cc sources.

Difficult matchups:

(7) Amii vs Bandits (↑)

With the introduction of Mine Field it became difficult to utilize the Darkelf Assassin spam in order to break through the enemy's base. With Bandit Stalker being a strong counter to both Nightcrawler and Burrower this matchup get really tough. Fortunately it is not as oppressive as before, because both of these troublesome cards received nerfs. Amii Paladins can be an interesting choice as they trade well into Bandit Stalkers and even reflect Bandit Minefield damage with their ability. They might grant your Darkelf Asssassins a lot more breathing room to trade well as Amii will clearly come out on top whenever Minefield is on cooldown. Always try to split accordingly and make use of your cc advantage in order to build leads by winning trades over and over. If you outmaneuver a Bandits player once this quickly results in a destroyed powerwell as the faction neither has crowd control nor building protects. You need to avoid high void level games at all cost as Bandits is another faction that can make good use of Lavafield to outscale you. Determine the pace of the game by trading a lot. As Bandits usually tends to stack a lot of units around a Rallying Banner, it might be a great opportunity to set up a powerful phoenix + cc combo to relieve a lot of pressure. 

(8) Shadow Nature vs Twilight (↓)

Twilight does have a certain advantage in this matchup as the efficiency of Skyfire Drake & Twilight Crawlers increases tremendously due to the strong synergy with nature support spells.This strictly limits the trading advantages you have. Your best way of applying pressure is to play on a low power level. Most Twilight units are expensive and the faction is reliant on melee units. This makes Nightcrawler and Darkelf Assassins really strong in skirmishes with very limited power. In order to achieve this you want to play hyper-aggressively right from the start. Constantly look for trades, punish extra well attempts, offer base trades and don’t wait too long before taking T2. This is your best shot at winning this particular matchup, but if you don't get a substantial advantage before Lavafield spamming is an option, you will most likely lose. Burrower + Skyfire attacks are really hard to defend at some point and once multiple Vilebloods enter the field, the lack of an L counter will be noticeable. Therefore, Twilight has an easier time playing this matchup once there is a reasonable amount of power available. On T3 things will turn into your favor again as you can delay and remove Nightshade Plants fairly consistently, but you won’t reach that stage so easily when playing this matchup.

(9) Shadow Nature vs Pure Fire (↑)

This matchup used to be one of the most one sided and brutal ones in the entire game. Pure Fire remains as the most difficult matchup, but it is less oppressive than before. Amii Paladins can be a really useful tool since it’s the only unit that does not get totally outmatched by Enforcer. They are a much more suitable M counter, that matches the raw trading power and dps pure Fire has to offer. With a well timed ability a Wildfire can be even utilized to burn down the Fire player instead. But Amii Paladins are prone to kiting especially since their powerful ability does have a long cooldown. If you lose tempo at any given point, pure Fire can always use this to immediately deal damage to your economy by taking out 1 or even 2 power wells with Firedancers. Without access to air units or a high damage nasty surprise it gets rather tough to deal with the Rallying Banner siege set ups. All of your other units are very susceptible to Enforcer + Wildfire combos, your cc is weaker against the ability to resummon undazed units at any time. Wildfire might also prevent powerwells from getting repaired. With the strong aoe damage tools to block almost any counter attack, it gets really difficult to stay relevant at higher energy levels.  If you manage to survive and reach T3 though, Brannoc + Heal + Lifeweaving can outmatch a Juggernaut in a duel. As the new Amii spell Tranquility can disable a Juggernaut more effectively, the fire player needs to decide whether he wants to get rid of the effect or removes the Life Weaving from your XL unit. Either way you will come out on top.

 

[ FIRE NATURE / TWILIGHT ]
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1. Deck description

Fire Nature is probably known as one of the most solid decks, because it has pretty much tools for everything. You have a solid counter for all unit types and sizes, instant damage spells to remove spam based attacks, crowd control to ensure good trades, strong siege units to launch attacks and control at both ground and air department. The big variety within its T2 is Fire Natures biggest strength and makes it one of the most well rounded decks overall. That said, Fire Nature might struggle at other Tech levels due to slot issues. In order to play towards its T2 strengths most players prefer cutting slots in T1 or T3 which might hurt the deck.

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Alternative deck

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2. Matchup discussion

Favorable matchups:

(1) Twilight vs Pure Shadow (-)

You come out on top in the various unit trading patterns. Twilight Minions, Crawlers and Skyfire Drake combined with the damage and crowd control spells tend to win all kinds of skirmishes on open ground. Pure Shadow tends to struggle against that, especially in the mid T2 stage, because all of its low cost units are vulnerable to Lavafield, especially Shadowmage. You need to be aware of flanking units to prevent a nasty surprise against your Skyfire Drake. Your defense against Harvester is also pretty nice due to the highly efficient Root & Disenchant combo. Just leave some Skyfiredrakes and a Gladiatrix behind that and they will take the Harvester down before he reaches your power well/orb. To stay relevant during mid and late T2 you can add Vileblood into your deck to increase the amount of pressure you can apply to the power wells. While this matchup is listed as one of the easy ones, keep in mind that at a really high level of play the matchup starts turning around, because Netherwarp really has an unparalleled amount of playmaking potential.

(2) Twilight vs Pure Nature ()

Your early T2 is superior due to the lack of an M/M counter in the pure Nature deck. This is something you can use to dictate the pace of the game right from the start with Burrower pressure. All you need to take care off are Energy Parasites. Defending them during the early game is your top priority, because it probably is the only way you might fall behind outside of losing in T1. Air Control usually pays off, because Skyfire Drake trades well into most units, but be careful with the newly buffed Parasite spell. With the use of crowd control you can easily prevent Parasite Swarms from controlling your units. With Burrowers and Skyfire Drake you can set up high tempo attacks, avoid high value cc spells and easily take down power wells whenever you have a little bit of tempo. Slaver is great tool against melee L-units, which deflects any attempts of Deep One pressure until mid T2. As long as you defend Energy Parasites and don't play too slow in matchup, you should be set up to win.  

(3) Twilight vs Amii ()

In this matchup your defensive capabilities are straight up better, which leaves you in a very comfortable position. You have good ways to counter Nightcrawlers, Dark Elf Assassins & Burrowers around your own base and in case your opponent over commits at some point you can launch insanely powerful counterattacks, that are way harder to defend in return. Fire Nature is just a little bit more well rounded in T2 and can attack Amiis weakness of being built around small and medium ground units exclusively, which increases the efficiency of Lava Field over time. Amii Paladins need to be respected here and might be a setup for some strong damage combos, but apart from that you can keep them in check with Hurricane. Vileblood is an extremely effective tool on higher power levels, because besides Tranquility there is nothing that can keep melee L units in check. T3 is all about tempo as both set ups are fast paced, but not that strong in defense. Nightshade Plant can always turn games by surprise if it’s used in a creative way, but it usually is more wisely to look for a late T2 victory.

Skill matchups:

(4) Twilight vs Fire Frost (-)

A very interesting matchup. The early game is about Twilight Minions vs Icefang Raptor. Your support is slightly better, giving you an early advantage in this matchup. To some extent the matchup feels similar to the pure Fire one play style wise. Twilight Minions + Skyfire Drake can be used to trade very efficiently early, but at the later stages of the game you might start to struggle due to the value of Frost Sorceress in multi-unit compositions. Shielded Skyfire Drakes are hard to remove and Twilight Curse might be a consideration to surprise the enemy by disrupting his unit composition. The shielded drake usually guards more vulnerable units like the Frost Sorceress or Warlock and an unexpected removal might expose the remaining army. Either way you want to keep up the pressure and try to attack the enemies units constantly before the Frost Sorceress ends up generating too much value. Nightshade Plant can be an excellent game finisher, but on the long run Fire Frost will come out on top in high energy late game battles.

(5) Twilight vs Pure Frost ()

Twilight Crawlers make a major difference in this matchup. On large maps they outmaneuver War Eagles due to mobility and they easily contest White Rangers to create more space for your Skyfire Drakes. As pure Frost plays a very slow game, Breeding Grounds has to be mentioned in this particular matchup. The card is overpowered anyways and I usually don’t want to promote such things, but the mechanic is so good against low mobility scaling T2s. Otherwise pure Frost will be able to secure air control in late T2 and establish a strong set up.You want to utilize your crowd control advantage at the early T2 stage to gather a better position on the map and ideally a certain energy lead. If your opponent is too greedy and goes aggressive too early, you can outtrade with Skyfire + Minions/Crawlers + Oink. If Twilight Minions get matched by White Rangers or Ice Fang Raptor consider transforming them into a vileblood to outmatch the counter system and also put a powerful damage buff on your unit. If you keep up a high pace, pure Frost will be unable to stabilize. Otherwise Skyelf-Templar and White Rangers get to contest Air Control at some point and with War Eagles added, counteraggression starts to be a possibility. T3 is something you want to use to close out games, but shouldn’t be considered without any lead. Nightshade Plant is literally built to close out games quickly, because the Transformation spawn will allow you to play nasty mind games whenever you have a tempo lead. But if this early aggression can be stopped, Coldsnap, Lightblade and Building Protects might be problematic. Thunderstorm can be extremely good in this matchup as Frost often stacks up big armies. Especially a large T2 push against a seemingly greedy T3 can be shut down by a Thunderstorm potentially turning the tides in this matchup. 

(6) Twilight vs Pure Fire (-)

Twilight shines during the early T2 stage with Twilight Minions + Sykfiredrake, while Pure Fire will outscale in late T2, where Scythefiends + Ravage + Wildfire take over. Since Pure Fire scales with high void power you should actually try to play your T1 accordingly to avoid this. Playing a short, but aggressive T1 is highly beneficial. Try to get a small advantage, but then don't hesitate and make your fast transition into T2, ideally on 3-4 wells. Also look out for a timing where your enemy binds too much energy into Thugs, because this unit scales poorly into T2 in particular. With a small tempo lead in T1 you can consistently snowball and finish the game. If you still struggle in this matchup consider the addition of Vileblood in your deck, because pure Fire struggles against L units, especially the ones with high dps against buildings. Burning spears need to be respected and either need to be focussed or cc’d. Twilight Brute can be a strong addition as their trading pattern against Scythe Fiends is very strong which reduces the amount of counter pressure on the long run. Avoid T3 unless you are far ahead, Juggernaut can be scary.

(7) Twilight vs Lost Souls (-)

I think this is one of the most intense matchups in the game. You have the upper hand in later stages of T2 due to the efficiency of Burrower + Skyfire Drakes during attacks, but once the game reaches T3 Shadow Frost can turn the tides and straight up outscale you with its Timeless One T3 based set up. This really puts a very high emphasis on the early stage of the game, because a small lead can determine whether the Shadow Frost player is able to hit T3 safely or not. Utilizing your crowd control to win open field trades is very important. When attacking, always consider positioning your units in a way so Coldsnap or Nasty Surprise don’t hit your entire army. Once you reach the high void T2 stage, lots of counter unit setups can be cleared with double Lava Field, because Shadow Frost doesn’t have access to air units. This can be a very efficient way to convert your high power income into pressure at later stages of the game. Shadow Frost probably does have the easier win condition, but once your micro is on point and you get to generate early tempo leads consistently you will be able to produce very good results in this particular matchup. 

(8) Twilight vs Bandits (↓)

After Bandits received changes, this particular matchup was not rated correctly. As your T2 is built around melee units you need to play around Bandit Minefields cooldowns to get something done. Especially before the Bandits nerfs this was extremely opressive combined with Bandit Stalker shutting down beast units entirely. You either had to go for split attacks or try to bait the minefield and launch a strong attack immediately afterwards while facing strong counter units. Bandit Stalker are weaker than before, but still do shut down both Twilight Crawlers and Burrowers effectively and without tempo you can't really use them well during attacks. With Darkelf Assassins being a constant threat to any of your units, you rely on good crowd control usage in order to protect your weaker trading units from running into their counters. Twilight Curse can be useful to shut down Windhunters by surprise to regain air control. It’s most effective right after the enemy buffed the Dragon as this buff would be negated through the forced Transformation. At T3 Mutating Maniac is amazing and the sole reason this matchup is listed in the even category. The unit is amazing against Bandits, because it hard counters Bandits Lancers. The 1vs1 is a stat efficient trade and once multiple ones get used, poison cloud + root straight up annihilates them. With a spammable XL counter for normal trading this directly lowers the impact Soulhunter has, granting a clear win condition. 

Difficult matchups:

(9) Twilight vs Stonekin (-)

Stonekin can be extremely uncomfortable to play against as there is little to no room to attack it. Stormsinger + Spirithunter + nature cc is such a brutal combo, that easily wins trades in almost any situation. Stonekin has very powerful tools to convert early leads into victory from constant pressure to building up armies around a Breeding Grounds for infinite value. Crystal Fiends are also quite scary and always need to be removed by Skyfire Drake + Oink/Eruption. Otherwise it will just generate too much free value by applying healing auras over and over. With Burrowers around the corner your power wells are always in danger whenever you lose a trade. To strike back you usually rely on a mistake by your opponent. Fortunately your snowball tools are fairly strong whenever that happens. A well executed Burrower spam usually is your best option and really benefits from a power lead. Stonekin has no strong burst tools and investing power into building protects and cc will leave them with really low dps options, allowing you to keep up the pressure for a very long time. Another way of attacking with a power lead would be the Vileblood + Ravage set up on low energy level, because you should be able to make sure Aggressor can’t be played (or even try to bait the aggressor and cheese it with Mauler). You will get opportunities to gain full control of this matchup, but if your enemy really knows what he’s doing, the stonekin matchup is completely doomed in T2.  

 

[ PURE SHADOW ]
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1. Deck description

Pure Shadow is one of the more unique decks, because it has its own powerful faction carriers with Shadowmage & Harvester in T2. This gives pure Shadow big powerspikes, that can then be utilized to create leads across many situations. You lack hard-cc in this deck, but you have the highest dps/power unit & the only XL unit in the entire T2 as a trade off. While easy to learn, Pure Shadow scales extremely well with execution level and mastering it at the highest level can be extremely challenging. Shadow is a deck with a lot of playmaking potential, as most of your spells and abilities can be combined with Nether Warp in some way. One of the main weaknesses is the T2 charge limitation, since Shadow Mage got only 12 of them. In T3 you have multiple powerful options, which depend on the element of your T3 orb. Staying pure shadow gives you access to Voidstorm, a global removal tool. Satanael has also been buffed to a very powerful state for more offensive set ups. However, splashing towards Frost in T3 can set up things like Lost Grigori taunt + Nether Warp combos, which can be deadly as well.

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2. Matchup discussion

Easy matchups

(1) Pure Shadow vs Pure Fire ()

Not too much changed about the matchup dynamic, but we rated this into the easier range considering it is easier to execute from the pure Shadow side. As already mentioned in the Pure Fire section, this matchup is all about timings. As long as you play for a Harvester spike attack there is not a lot of counterplay left for your opponent even with the addition of Burning Spears. The can not be ignored easily, but with some support spells like Nether Warp and Life Weaving is will be really difficult for your opponent to remove him without losing at least one power well. In order to reach this particular power spike Shadow Mages and Darkelf Assassins will be able to buy time in the early T2. Let your opponent come to you and invest the extra energy for a Rallying Banner, then try to warp mispositioned units into your base. This makes it much easier to keep a good unit split and avoid getting targeted by a strong lava field. Another option to take out pressure is an extended trade around the Rallying Banner finished by a well timed Corpse Explosion. If you get ahead you do not want to well up, but wait for your Harvester. Pure Shadow might be winning at T3, but in late T2 you do not stand a chance against Enforcers supported with Lavafield and Wildfire. You want to get ahead substantially before this stage hits. Using leads to set up a Harvester attack is the best way to achieve that. If that isn’t enough to win the game, try to stabilize and play for the next Harvester. If you run out on Harvester charges before the game is over (unlikely), you can still fall back to a very strong T3 as Voidstorm harcounters Juggernaut & even Netherwarp could straight up cancel a Stampede. While this matchup is still winnable on both ends, it is now listed as an easy matchup for pure Shadow as a straightforward Harvester attack is much more forgiving and easier to execute.

Skill matchups

(2) Pure Shadow vs Fire Frost (-)

Fire Frost shouldn't be the biggest threat to you. Shield Drakes and Icefang Raptors are not too hard to play against and as long as you respect the potential of a well placed Lavafield, Fire Frost shouldn't really give you too much trouble. Harvester can be really effective, but this depends on deck building and requires your opponent to play without Lightblade. However, most of the time you will face combinations around Stormsinger, Gladiatrix & Skyfire Drake and with any tempo lead your Harvester won't be stopped anyways. Coldsnap can be countered as it has a cast animation, which is long enough time to dodge it with a Nether Warp. This can be great in trades or simply get a Harvester in a position to destroy powerwells and orbs with the enemys cc being put on cooldown. But in many games you will end up in a T3 position, where you can utilize Cultist Master for pressure and combine the dead Nightcrawlers with either Shadow Insect for strong follow up trades or Corpse Explosion to blow up the economy buildings, even against buildings protects. Always try to attack well clusters and make good use of you high AoE burst. Voidstorm can negate any counter pressure, which lowers the risk of high energy investments during your attacks even when they don't succeed immediately. 

(3) Pure Shadow vs Fire Frost (-)

Fire Frost shouldn't be the biggest threat to you. Shield Drakes and Icefang Raptors are not too hard to play against and as long as you respect the potential of a well placed Lavafield, you can play a very slow controlled T2. Harvester can be fairly effective, but its value heavily depends on deck building and requires your opponent to play without Lightblade. However, most of the time you will face combinations around Stormsinger, Gladiatrix & Skyfire Drake, which won't stop the Harvester unless it gets frozen and upon gaining tempo it will work anyways. Make sure you use your Nether Warp to dodge Coldsnap. The cast duration takes a little bit of time, which is enough to dodge it. This mechanic can be used across the entire game and ideally puts your units into an even better position than before. Without a real siege unit in Fire Frost you can stall games until T3, where you get to utilize Cultist Masters for pressure and combine the dead Nightcrawlers with either Shadow Insect for strong follow up trades or Corpse Explosion. The spell can blow up well clusters, and combined with a well timed Nasty surprise your pressure will be overwhelming. Timeless One Defense looks scary one paper, but pure Shadow usually has more slot freedom in T3 and with Voidstorm as a global map reset you can easily recover from some tempo loss. 

(3) Pure Shadow vs Bandits (-)

Pure Shadow has clear counterplay to Bandit Minefield, which immediately reduces the pressure in this particular matchup. Whenever the spell is played you just warp away from any danger. As a result it is important to not waste Netherwarp and use this spell reactively. Most of the time you will be trade into a mix of Bandit Spearmen, Darkelf Assassins and Windhunters. Removing the air units from Bandits is a tough task and you always want to look for opportunities to either attack them with motivated Shadow mages, Nightcrawler + Nasty surprise or straight up remove them with Aura of Corruption whenever they get double or even triple buffed. Knight of Chaos (b) can always buy time against heavy Rallying Banner attacks and Corpse Explosion or Shadow Phoenix can annihilate stacked ground units effectively after any extended combat. If you defend successfully, power level will rise and Harvester or T3 become an option. While it can be tought to get something done with Harvester from an even position, because Windhunter ability and Bandit Minefield are fairly powerful tools to keep him away from wells, the card is excellent whenever you have some tempo. Bandits neither has hard cc nor can protect its buildings in any way, which is ideal for your Harvester. T3 is another reliable win condition for you as Bandit Lancers are not that impressive against Cultist Masters and Voidstorm is a hard counter for Soulhunter. If you even play something like Satanael, you will be unstoppable at this stage of the game.

(4) Pure Shadow vs Shadow Nature (↓)

The release of Tranquility gave Harvester a hard time in this matchup. As the unit can be cc'd permanentely, you need to be a little bit more creative in order to win this matchup. Shadowmage functions decently well as an all round counter, but her usage is limited by her charges. Avoid giving away too much tempo, Amii Phantom spam can be a serious threat. The unit might be more expensive than your ranged ones, but she can heavily outduel them due to the antimagic melee form, which snowballs whenever the amii player gets a significant lead. Split your units against nature cc and play for high energy skirmishes. Once more units get involved into trades, there will be more opportunities for you to make use of Corpse Explosion. More targets to hit and higher corpse counts are highly beneficial here. On the other hand you need to respect Shadow Phoenix + cc combos for the same reason. This matchup will mostly come down to some sort of outplay, may it be strategic or mechanical, as these factions are matched rather equally now. Shadow might have the upper hand at T3 due to more slots and voidstorm, but Amii's cc and healing spells scale well enough into later tech stages and definitely shouldn't be understimated.  

(5) Pure Shadow vs Lost Souls (-)

Lost Souls can be difficult to play against. Darkelf Assassins & Stormsinger with Frostbite support are hard to deal with, even when using Shadowmages. Both factions like to work with higher power levels and as both factions tend to play on a lot of wells for that reason, Harvester will be usable frequently. Sometimes you even get to set up a double Harvester attack, which overloads building protects in seconds. Since you can dodge Coldsnap with Nether Warp there is absolutely no time left for the Souls player to recover unless Lightblade is available. After Nightguard got nerfed this is not the most unlikely and might have made this strategy a little bit more difficult for you. Fortunately Knight of Chaos ability cost reduction tremendously helps against Lost Reaver pressure and allows you to counter any brute force siege attempts, where the Souls player just buffs the unit constantly. You usually want to set up a close base scenario to reduce the impact of your mobility disadvantage and maximize your combat advantage (Shadowmage vs Stormsinger). Try thinking about this during your power well selection, even at T1. Close base scenarios often end up being played out very aggressively, leading to high value Corpse Explosions. Be a little bit more careful with Shadow Phoenix as the card is more foreseeable and Lost Reaver could soak up all the corpses denying the revive ability. T3 is somewhat similar, you want to play around short distances to maximize your Cultist Master efficiency, while the Souls player will try to outrun you with Silverwind Lancers and attack with Tremors if they find a good opportunity. Try to overload the protects with burst damage if you can. If you manage to take down a power well it leaves you in a great spot, because Voidstorm always allows you to reset the tempo. In such high energy level matchups Satanael scales really well and definitely should be considered. 

(6) Pure Shadow vs Pure Nature (↓)

Any pure Nature matchup is about defending Energy Parasites appropriately. Shadow Mage seems to be an excellent counter due to her ability to oneshot the bug, but her low mobility is a concern. A good nature player will just hover from base to base forcing a lot of bound power. This will slow you down in terms of tempo, but keep in mind it’s one of your enemies most powerful win conditions. Preventing Energy Parasite abilities with a high investment is much better than ignoring them. Apart from that your early trades are fine, just keep in mind that heavy unit stacking will be punished by cc + parasite combos. Unit micro and a good unit split are crucial in the matchup. Knight of Chaos (b) is a solid tool against pure Nature as the faction is fairly reliant on melee units when it comes down to dealing damage against structures. He is even more important now after Nightguard received a hefty nerf and lost her position as a Deep One hard counter. Harvester can be strong from ahead, but with Parasite Swarm being fairly good at countering XL units now, you need to look for a good timing rather than playing the unit whenever you get to 300 power. If you want to play it safe you can always try to scale towards T3 and win this matchup there, considering pure Shadow has really powerful options at this stage and nature will not be able to keep up with that most likely.

Difficult matchups

(7) Pure Shadow vs Pure Frost (↓↓)

With Nightguard being less powerful, this matchup got much more difficult to play. You can aim for strong Darkelf Assassins + Netherwarp play to catch opponents off guard, but apart from that Frost has the better trading tools in T2 and a strong defense against Harvester on top of that. Your best win condition would be a strong and aggressive early game with heavy open field trading where you contest as much map control as possible followed by a rather defensive mid T2. Attacking against Eagle/Mountain Rowdy is rather pointless with your unit set up. You try to use a better position on the map in order to endure the mid game. Use Netherwarp to dodge Coldsnap or War Eagle screams and Aura of Corruption to punish strong single area attacks. If you manage to reach T3 your chance will be better as Cultist Master generates early pressure and your late T3 scaling is exceptional with powerful options like Satanael. Another niche way to attack pure Frost in T3 would be the newly buffed Nox Carrier as the unbound Rippers can build up constant pressure which is working nicely against the Amii Ritual design.

(8) Pure Shadow vs Fire Nature (↓)

Skyfire Drake + Twilight Crawlers in combination with cc is difficult to deal with as a pure Shadow player. There is quite a large amount of playmaking you can do around your Nether Warp to make advantageous trades, like warping out of Lavafield, catching high priority units off guard or using the spell on your Harvester to dodge Ensnaring Roots by prediction (if this works you literally win the game off that). Splitting your units against cc & Lavafield is criucial. As long as your Shadowmages are well positioned you can take down the Skyfire Drakes (a motivated Mage oneshots a Skyfire Drake). Knight of Chaos can slow down heavy Vileblood attacks and upon getting a tempo lead you can transition towards very explosive attacks. Corpse Explosion usually grants many opportunities to finish off a damaged power well. That said you play a very risky matchup here as one mistake will allow Fire Nature to start a snowball you can not control anymore. If the match goes to T3 you should be in full control again regardless of your T3 color choice (Shadow or Frost). Lost Grigori + Netherwarp can shut down any attempts of ranged unit kiting (just activate the ability and port the units towards your Grigori), Nightshade Plant can be stopped by Aura + Netherwarp or Voidstorm. This matchup is quite challenging for you to play, but you've still got a very good chance to win it as long as your micro is on point.

(9) Pure Shadow vs Stonekin (↓)

The difficulty in this matchup is pretty much card choice depended. Stone Tempest & especially Razorshard can give your Shadowmages trouble and make this matchup close to unplayable. The high mobility, extra range & M-knockback of Razorshards are a real threat for your slow Shadowmages, especially in the later stages of T2. Teleport and knockback immunity also grant even more power against Netherwarp. It feels like the card was built to counter your deck. Numbers quickly add up and you need to be really good at trading to win this matchup, considering Stonekin has much more breathing room in T1 compared to the past. Removing big Stonekin attacks can be pretty annoying too, because Aura of corruption is a double edged swort in this matchup. The Stonekin player might just use the Aura for himself as protection to build up offensive Cannon towers (Corpse Explosion can be useful as a counter measure). Forcing a close well scenario in the early stages of T2 should be your best move because it makes Shadowmages much more efficient, similar to the Lost Souls matchup. It is easier to split them during an attack and you can always retreat with low hp units to heal them up quickly. On top of this you can utilize Darkelf Assassins and Nightcrawlers with their active damage abilities in a much more aggressive manner, considering you can react quicker once CC sources are on cooldown since you don't have to deal with the summoning sickness in these scenarios. Stonekin does not have strong burst tools, making the faction a little bit more vulnerable to constant pressure than others. Since Lightblade (purple) is a more and more established tool in Stonekin due to the increased popularity of pure Shadow, Harvester is not a good choice in this matchup and won't pay off, unless you are already ahead and look to close out the game. Most of the time you want to slow down the tempo in this matchup and look for an economy game leading to a T3 win, since Voidstorm can be a hard counter for T2 only decks (Stonekin often cuts T3 to play around more powerful T2 set ups) and even against a large T3 your tools are good enough to compete. 

 

 

[ FIRE SHADOW / BANDITS ]
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1. Deck description

Bandits is one of our top decks right now and very popular around high silver/low gold elo. The T2 is explosive with powerful rallying banner attacks and a wide arsenal of single buffs and damage spells to strenghten your attacks. On top of that the faction has an appropriate counter tool to almost any unit in the game, making it very effective in unsupported skirmishes. Major downsides are the lack of cc and building protection spells, which will make you vulnerable whenever you are behind in tempo and Minefield is cooldown. Due to its strong set of previously released core cards, there is more room for different deckbuilding options. This grants a lot of freedom to individualize the deck based on your personal playstyle.

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Alternative deck

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2. Matchup discussion

Favorable matchups:

(1) Bandits vs Fire Frost (-)

With Windhunter you have superior air control in this matchup even when facing shielded Skyfire Drakes. Your T2 trades very well into anything besides Stormsinger and Lavafield, which probably will be your biggest threat. Minefield can zone the Stormsingers and a Bandit Sniper in the backline can always generate strong value by sniping them with the ability. Once you get a lead you should be able to snowball it quickly by setting up a Rallying banner and spam Darkelf Assassins with instant ability activation. Overall a really good matchup for you due to the strong tools for converting tempo leads and since your T3 should perform quite well too it will be easy to break through defensive setups.

(2) Bandits vs Pure Frost (-)

A Bandits favored matchup, because Windhunter contests air control, limiting the impact of War Eagles. Pure Frost might have strong defensive capabilities with Templar, Stormsinger and White Rangers, but can’t really break out from its defensive formation during any stage of T2. Whenever you get a good trade you can use this position to snowball with air superiority and extra pressure from Minefield for zoning. Adding Bandit Spearmen to the unit mix can be a good choice as they attack Stormsingers and are rather durable against any War Eagle attempt. You want to accelerate the game as much as you can. Once you have enough energy to set up a strong attack, put down a Rallying Banner, chase down the War Eagles with Windhunters and walk up to White Ranges with Darkelf Assassins making sure your opponent has no room to recover anymore. You can keep up pressure forever and even if the Frostplayer manages to survive to T3 the matchup dynamic does not change here. Pure Frost usually lacks a good M counter here, which is ideal for Bandit Lancer split attacks. The ability can cancel Timeless one Freeze and Soulhunter can seal the deal, but keep in mind he requires Disenchant support to deal with the Freeze + Lightblade cc chain. 

(3) Bandits vs Amii (↓)

As Amii is more reliant on small units than most factions, Bandit Minefield is absolutely cruicial to control this matchup. The cooldown nerfs had an impact as a result. Bandit Stalker shuts down Nightcrawler/Burrower pressure effectively, making this matchup fairly comfortable to play. Lavafield alone grants a scaling advantage against Amii. Getting outmicrod during low energy trades is your biggest threat, because with strong unit split and cheap cc Amii tend to win these. The Amii Paladins can be dangerous if you don't respect their active ability, the unit needs to be kited. They can reflect minefield damage and also counter your Bandit Stalkers when combined with Amii Phantoms. Windhunter can be a great addition to your unit mix even though Amii does not have any L units. The faction is fairly weak at contesting air on open field, giving you much more options to play with in trades. Diversifying your unit compositions makes it harder to counter in most situations and Bandits has a plethora of powerful units to do so. A good strategic approach in this matchup is a rather passive and prolonged early game (T1) with many power wells. Great energy income will be highly beneficial for your faction. Once you get to spam your spells, it will get incredibly difficult for Amii to keep up through unit micro. Due to the nature of this matchup it will rarely go to T3, which should be slightly in favor of Amii due to cc scaling and a fairly similar pool of meta units.  

Skill matchups:

(4) Bandits vs Twilight ()

Due to the previous lack of playdata the matchup wasn’t very well rated on our previous list. We had predicted this matchup to be rather even, but Bandits used to be a strong counter to Twilight the last time we updated the guide. A T2 faction reliant on expensive melee units got shut down by the area control Bandit Minefield established. With a double beast target (burrower + scythe fiends) for the Bandit Stalker it was quite an oppressive combo. With Minefield and Bandit Stalker receiving small sized nerfs and Twilight Minions +Twilight Crawlers being cheaper options than old Ghostspears + Scythe Fiends, the matchup is less oppressive than before. You can quickly break the map wide open by attacking multiple locations at once to reduce the impact of cc. Darkelf Assassins can deal fairly well with Twilight Minions. With Twilight Transformations being stronger now, Twilight Brute might also show up, which is a strong response to Bandit Stalker. Windhunter should beat Skyfire Drake and limit the pressure from any Vileblood attempt. Gladiatrix doesn’t really contest the air matchup as she loses horribly against Bandit Sniper. Be careful with double buffing Windhunters as Twilight Curse counters that otherwise. Avoid T3 at all cost, because Mutating Maniac + cc can turn this matchup on its head. Try to win this matchup at T2 by setting up powerful Rallying Banner attacks whenever you get ahead and only use T3 as a game finisher from ahead.  

(5) Bandits vs pure Fire (-)

With Windhunter you can straight up reduce the zoning presence of Skyfire Drakes. As a result you will face a very ground unit oriented unit composition most of the time, which is an ideal set up for your AoE damage spells like Lavafield or Minefield. With Bandit Spearmen as a main trading unit you have a very strong tool to match the Enforcer and with Windhunter in the mix you also keep yourself safe from getting burned down by a really efficient Wildfire. The melee bonus damage is also useful against Burning Spears, that can not be ignored due to their ramp up damage. You can add Darkelf Assassin to counter them properly. Making good use of Ravage and Live Weaving to support your units against the high dps from Fire cards is crucial. You can keep up the pressure in T2, but this is a necessity in order to win. Even though you have the upper hand in T2, your units are straight up outmatched against Juggernaut. The XL counter is a threat for Soulhunter, Bandit Lancers get knocked around and you lack tools to protect you from Stampede. 

(6) Bandits vs pure Nature (↓↓)

This matchup used to be one of the most brutal ones last patch. With recent changes to Deep One you are much more reliant on playing around Windhunters to gain control over the map. Playing around nature's strong poison and DoT effects here is crucial. Bandit Minefield is good against Ghostspears and Spirit Hunters, but fairly weak against Deep One. He can keep distance and take one of your units with him negating the zoning effect and limiting usage during siege. Bandit Stalker doesn’t counter Deep One anymore and Rallying Banner attacks are weak against Creeping Paralysis. In order to win the matchup you need to fall back to a much more dynamic approach by winning open field trades with a good unit split and utilizing your wide pool of units with strong combat power. Whenever you get ahead you can still make a strong transition towards a powerful Rallying Banner siege attempt. You can get a better position on the map most of the time, which can ultimately give you small advantages for trading. But always track the opposing Energy Parasites as they easily negate your tempo if you don't pay close attention to them. Zone them as effectively as possible and accumulate small advantages rather than brute forcing too early. Nature's defensive capabilities should not be underrestimated and if you lose a Windhunter to a Parasite Swarm, you will be in trouble. Late T2 is in your favor, but avoiding T3 should be a wise choice. Pure Nature could make use of Mutating Maniac, which is a big threat to your entire T3 (see Twilight matchup). Cultist Master is also less of an option against pure Nature with how many crowd control tools are available within the faction. 

(7) Bandits vs pure Shadow (-)

Trading into pure Shadow can be tough, Minefield can help to force the use of Nether Warp and put pure Shadow’s most powerful spell on cooldown. Bandit Minefield can also be used as a tool to defend your power wells against the Harvester attempt, so the spell has great value here to buy time. Your trading units are solid and Lavafield is another precious AoE spell that pure Shadow often struggles against. Their smaller units usually lack high hp or reliable sustain options. Attacking against well splitted Shadow Mages can be difficult and pure Shadow has many ways to force them into good trading positions across the game, so this probably ends up being one of the more difficult matchups. Minefield nerfs might hurt your Harvester defense, but you can still fall back to Aura of Corruption for zoning in this matchup as buffs can just be removed. T3 will be very dangerous, because Voidstorm easily deals with Soulhunter and Cultistmaster gives Bandit Lancer a hard time. Pure Shadow can easily opt into T3s with 5 or even more cards, which will be hard to match with 2-3 T3 cards at best.

(8) Bandits vs Lost Souls (↓)

You do have a lot of tools to neutralize Lost Souls in T2. Bandit Sniper can deal with Stormsinger heavy compositions, Bandit Stalker out-trades Nightcrawler and the Minefield performs well against heavy Darkelf Assassin compositions. Attacking souls in T2 can be tough on the other hand even though Bandits are really good at it in most matchups. Rallying Banner attacks often get deflected by a strong Nasty surprise and without a strong siege unit you might be unable to punish a Souls player taking more and more power wells throught the game. To break through the Souls defense the early T3 stage has a high priority. Bandit Lancer will be a key factor to win this matchup, because even though Shadow Frost has an amazing T3, the faction lacks a proper M counter. Therefore you can put up insane amounts of pressure in T3 by spamming them at multiple locations. Use their ability to block Timeless One from activating the ability. Rallying Banner attacks can also be supported with Cultist Master spam to overload Timeless One defenses. Don't let the void level rise that much, you really need to put up the pressure to win. Soulhunter can help to finish games, but ideally requires good setup since Shield Building can delay attacks forever. If Grigori tries to disintegrate your Soulhunter, cancel the channel with your Bandit Lancers. Never let the Souls player stabilize, because he will win an extended fight in T3 due to charges and limited answers to Tremor attacks.

Difficult matchups:

(9) Bandits vs Stonekin (-)

In T2 you will have problems to stand a chance against a good Stonekin player. Stormsinger stacking + Heal/CC can be really difficult to trade into and with its high tempo stonekin has some really brutal options to snowball from winning initial trades. Utilizing your Bandit Sniper well will be a key factor to survive this matchup and avoid being overwhelmed by a Stormsinger spam. Fortunately proper Stormsinger spam execution is not that easy when playing Stonekin and any other unit compositions in Stonekin end up being significantly weaker. This makes this matchup a little bit more playable outside of upper echelons of play. Minefield shuts down small and immobile units fairly well. Once you get ahead you can set up pressure by Rallying attacks, because Stonekin lacks AoE burst damage options to counter heavy single area attacks. The knockback and cc tools still need to be respected here and might shut everything down. As long as you split a little bit against crowd control you can keep up the pressure. Your scaling with high energy level is good and winning through T3 can work as well, but Lancers can be stopped by extended T2 + Stormsinger spam, so you rely on fully buffed Soulhunters to break through. This works against T2 heavy decks, but can also backfire when facing Stone Warrior + Timeless One T3. Always keep an eye on the amount of different cards your opponent uses during the game to assess whether you play against T3 scaling or full T2 decks. The effectiveness of some units rises drastically dependent on card choice (i.e. Windhunter priority increases dramatically if Aggressor isn't used). 

 

[ FIRE FROST ]
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1. Deck description

Fire Frost despite having no own faction cards so far is a very unique deck, that lives around its interesting synergy between Frost Sorceress and Skyfire Drake. It has received some buffs towards its current playstyle, which can be really rewarding once you get to play around the bigger shield setups, but with additional improvements to other deck still seems to be on the weaker end as it lacks a little bit of siege potential in T2. Warlock purple received a change to its buff mechanic and now increases damage against Frozen targets, which ends up being a good scaling tool, which synergizes well up to the T3 stage, where Timeless One might take over. Overall Fire Frost is a very unique deck and also has some specific matchups, where it performs exceptionally well making it worth to play.

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Alternative deck

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2. Matchup discussion

Easy matchups:

(1) Fire Frost vs pure Fire (↓)

A really valuable strength in Fire Frost is its excellent matchup against pure Fire. Shielded Skyfiredrake grants superior air control and you have a really strong mid T2 power spike, whereas pure Fire doesn't have the units to react properly. Stormsinger adds some safety to the matchup, because you can kite Enforcer in the early T2. Stormsinger hit + Frostbite + Eruption also is a good way of bursting Skyfire Drakes. Burning Spears can be hard to remove and Mountaineer lost priority in this matchup as a result, but as long as you win the air battle you are set up to win in T2. It is very important to stay proactive to avoid getting outscaled, because once pure Fire starts turning the pressure onto you it can be rough. You might get forced to trade before your units can receive their shield, so you either lose them to the opposing Skyfire Drake or your Frost Sorceress gets overrun by Enforcers. Losing Skyfire Drakes charges or a T3 (Juggernaut) are turning points in this matchup, so don’t lay back and allow your opponent to play towards his win conditions. A good rule of thumb is to avoid exceeding a well count of 6 as inflated energy income makes it harder to play a methodical and controlled mid game.

Skillmatchups:

(2) Fire Frost vs Amii (↑)

Fire Frost has solid tools to match Amii on higher power levels as Lavafield provides an inherent scaling advantage over small and medium sized ground unit stacking. The most critical part is the early T2 where you can not win open field fights. Amii Paladins can be fearsome opponents and you have to kite their reflect ability at all cost, keep it mind it circumvents any ice shield. Icefang Raptor is a very valuable defensive unit to zone the Shadow Nature army from your powerwells and keep up with Amii Paladins + Darkelf Assassin combos. At a certain unit count you can always look for a moment, where the hostile army is not well positioned, allowing you to catch them with a coldsnap. Warlock can be a strong reinforcement to hold your ground at this point. Amii Phantom can be matched with Stormsinger, but you should only engage combat proactively if you have enough power for Lavafield support. Try to use your Lavafield combined with unit damage to make small burst combos on a target. This removes potential Surge of Light counterplay. If you hit multiple targets and remove at least one of them, Lavafield is almost guaranteed to generate value. At a higher void level you can also add your Frost Sorc + Skyfire Drake combo to apply a lot of pressure. As long as you don’t run into a strong cc + aura combo you have good chances to take down some power wells. In T3 you need to make sure that you keep your distance to the enemy's base. Cultist Master is very powerful on close well scenarios and applies an enormous amount of pressure. Frost Shard can be a niche counter to Cultist Master stacking as Amii loves to play for that particular win condition due to the strong synergy with cc and healing. Removing 2 Cultist Masters with a single Frost Shard can be worth it even though it’s not energy efficient. The same applies for Backlash, but this one requires roughly 500+ void to function properly. If you manage to drag out the game, you are most likely favored as the standard Amii T3 quickly burns out of steam from charge issues. That said Amii T3 can function extremely well on low energy levels, which is why you should avoid very early T3 transitions.

(3) Fire Frost vs Pure Frost (↑)

Pure Frost needs to be respected because of the powerful air control, but with Frost Sorceress you can match this with your shielded Skyfiredrakes most of the time. On the other hand Warlock + Freeze can push off almost any attack pure Frost might throw at you. Try to utilize cliffs during combat if possible to make sure your Skyfire Drake doesn’t get targeted by any type of Gravity Surge (Spell or Stormsinger ability). Defenders or White Rangers can be dangerous too as they help contest air control and you need to target them with Icefang Raptors if possible. If you get ahead Frost Sorc shield supply with 2-3 units (i.e. Skyfire + Stormsinger + Icefang Raptor) can be very powerful. On higher energy levels you want to add more Skyfire Drakes, but keeping up shields on many units is fairly micro demanding. In many cases Frost vs Fire Frost ends up being played on high void leading to T3 on both ends. Timeless One + Silverind Lancers + Coredredge has seen lots of success in this particular matchup mainly due to the strong Warlock synergy creating overwhelming trading advantages long term. But at this rate you might find yourself in trouble due to slot issues dependent on your choices across other gamestages. Finding a well balanced allrounder Fire Frost deck can be tough and you often find yourself in a matchup that would be much better under the right circumstances.  

(4) Fire Frost vs Twilight (↓)

Twilight Minions can give you a hard time in the early game, but with Icefang Raptors or Lyrish Knight you should be able to stabilize more often than not. Fire Nature can play a strong mid game around the newly buffed transformation tools (buffed vileblood+skyfire combos) combined with the cheap nature crowd control spells. Stormsinger will be essential to trade well and keep Burrowers away from your base, but be careful with trading on an open field. Shielded Skyfire Drakes + Stormsinger can be essential to secure air control in the mid game and after winning trades your Shield value will allow you to set up strong counter attacks. Twilight Curse might slow down pushes by transforming Shield Drakes, but with Frost Sorc in the backline you should be able to protect the unbound bug and build up even more pressure with your next push. T3 should be primarily used as a game finisher and help you close games from favorable positions. Tremor spam is your best option here, because Fire Nature has the damage to stop Giant Slayers even from T2 (Skyfire Drake + Root).

(5) Fire Frost vs Pure Shadow (-)

Shield Drakes with Lavafield support are rather decent against pure Shadow, but with severe scaling issues and lacking siege damage it can be rough to apply enough pressure to destroy power wells before you end up getting outscaled by a superior T3. Harvester can be a serious threat to deal with, but as long as you carry either Disenchant, Lyrish Knight or Lightblade in your deck you should be good to go. Also make sure you don't waste your Coldsnap for a Nether Warp dodge. Wait until the Harvester gets close to your powerwell so the Shadow player is forced to warp away from your base. You generate additional time and ideally follow up with another Frostbite to restrict movement further. Skyfire Drake can also be used to counter Harvester, because they are faster and also transition well into counterattack after a successful defense. With Lavafield and Frost Sorceress you can put up some solid support for them to break the enemies defense and turn this matchup. This is fairly essential as in T3 your chances are significantly lower due the high variety of options pure Shadow has. Voidstorm can clear out the map, Satanael + Bloodhealing creates insane high energy scaling, Cultist Master and Shadow Insect can be used for tempo and Corpse Explosion adds a permanent threat of burst to negate the value of building protects. It is not unwinnable on perfect execution, but the amount of threats alone and the potential map reset that voidstorm provides is very threatening. As the void level itself raises as a result, Backlash can be used as a strong counter in this particular matchup to withstand the strong pure Shadow attacks.

Difficult matchups:

(6) Fire Frost vs Lost Souls (-)

Lost Souls usually doesn't feel that hard to play against during T2, but its scaling is vastly superior leading to a very uncomfortable position, where you end up being forced to attack your opponent at some point even without an advantage. With nerfs to Mountaineer you need to rely much more on shield synergies to get ahead despite the Nightguard nerfs. The constant micro load around shielding up units while allocating resources ideally is a very tough task. Stormsinger & Darkelfassassins are really strong in a defensive position, because they trade well against the Skyfire drake. Icefang Raptor can help here to deal with Darkelf Assassins, but even if you get ahead you always need to respect strong damage tools of Nasty surprise and Aura of Corruption. In T3 Souls usually has access to better synergies as a lot of the lower tier cards scale better compared to the Fire cards. Nasty Surprise & Life Weaving are exceptional when combined with high hp Frost units. On top of that, Lost Souls usually offers more room to put additional slots into T3, building up to this powerful late game setup without opening up weaknesses in T2. Warlock can help to counteract to a certain degree, but isn't enough to turn the current matchup dynamic entirely.

(7) Fire Frost vs Bandits (-)

Bandits are very hard to play against, especially in T2 as Windhunter can contest air control even against shielded Skyfire Drakes. Stormsinger + Lavafield is your best setup to keep up trading wise, but you mostly have to find an answer to Bandit Spearmen as they can trade up against Icefang Raptors on an even power level. With no unit that trades up against Bandit Spears it is really dangerous to give up tempo against Bandits at any given point. You can stop Rallying Banner + Darkelf Assassin spam from even power by using Icefang/Lyrish Knight, but if you fall behind the endless spawns and immediate unholy trance activations can be extremely annoying to deal with. You need to play a really slow and controlled mid game and kite units with Frostbite to accumulate small advantages over time. For counterpressure try to play around your mobile units as they can outmaneuver the Bandit Minefield. T3 scaling usually isn't a win condition, because a well executed Bandit Lancer split attack can be overwhelming, but if you manage to stabilize at T3, you might have a reasonable chance to strike back. Frost Shard can be very strong to stop Rallying Banner + Cultist master pushes entirely and Shield Building or Lightblade can buy an enormous amount of time against Soulhunter. Try to play for late T3, because your enemy will most likely run out of charges first.

(8) Fire Frost vs Stonekin (-)

Stonekin is a very tough matchup as Stormsinger supported by Stoneshards and Spirit Hunters are really hard to trade into. The faction has better tools to trade and you main advantages lie around shield Drakes and defensive Warlock + Coldsnap set ups to potentially scale towards T3. But if Stonekin manages to acquire power leads, they will be snowballed by Burrowers, Stoneshard spam or even a Stonetempest. The variety of tools stonekin has in order to generate advantages is really wide and it’s hard to be prepared against each of them. Which stonekin version you end up facing solely depends on the deck choice your opponent made. Therefore, identifying the deck structure during the match is a key factor to determine your win condition, because you either might deal with additional trading and siege tools in T2 or a large T3 built around Timeless One and Stone Warrior. Stonekin won’t be able to provide everything at once. A T2 heavy stonekin deck can be beaten by a passive scaling approach, where you use defender’s advantage to trade better until you can get to T3. If you face a multi-slot T3 you should be better off by playing aggressive during T2 as the potential lack of important cards like an Aggressor i.e. could amplify Shield Drake value. Making the right call here is tough and it still doesn't guarantee success, but once you get to know your opponent you might be able to guess what he wants to do depending on his playstyle.

(9) Fire Frost vs pure Nature (↓) 

Pure Nature was already hard to deal with and now received buffs on top of this. Trading into Ghostspears is extremely difficult as they are more stat efficient than Icefang Raptor, Deep One + Spirit Hunters is a strong combo on its own and with Parasite and Parasite Swarm your air units aren’t safe either. You usually have less siege options compared to other Firesplashes when it comes to taking down power wells early. This is problematic as you will get outscaled rather often. You can deal well with Energy Parasites, because with Stormsinger and Skyfire Drake you do have two counter tools granting a little bit of flexibility, but trading well into Deep Ones at the later stages of T2 is problematic anyways. Your best way of staying in the game is a strong defense against Energy Parasites, a ranged unit heavy composition to avoid high value cc and shield support for your air units whenever you attempt to attack. Try to kite the melee units and focus priority targets like Deep One or Spirit Hunters with Frostbite. If you get pushed back you can always try to look for a strong Coldnsap + Warlock combination that helps to keep up with nature’s scaling for some time. T3 is not your best option either, because Parasite Swarm can take care of your L units (you might consider adding Gravity Surge as an extra tool to prevent this, but deck slot issues arise again) and Mutating Maniac/Fathom Lord are powerful answers to any XL unit based strategy. In order to win this matchup you most likely need to acquire a lead by outmicroing your opponent at some point.

 

 

[ NATURE FROST / STONEKIN ]
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1. Deck description

Stonekin probably has been the biggest winner out of all balancing changes, since Frost and Nature T1 are both playable by now. Playstyle wise you have great units and spells to win trades and accumulate small advantages by building up large and powerful armies to the point where you can overwhelm your opponent entirely. It arguably has the most powerful T2 in the game and the combination of crowd control and building protects leaves you with insanely defensive options. You only lack burst damage to quickly break free from large attacks when being down in tempo, but that should be the only true weakness I can think off. Anyone who likes to experiment with deckbuilding will find find a lot of options, because stonekin probably has the most amount of viable cards you can play. Also playstyle wise you can do almost anything from micro based snowbally gameplay to super slow cannon tower stacking decks, that will throw opponents into despair.

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Alternative deck

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2. Matchup discussion

Easy matchups:

(1) Stonekin vs pure Shadow (↑)

With Lightblade (purple) being more and more of a standard pick in Stonekin your matchup against pure Shadow has gotten better and better with every patch. Due to its basic design Razorshard still is an amazing tool to face off against pure Shadow. It is immune against Netherwarp in its ranged stance, counters unit stacking due to the strong AoE, can outrange Shadowmage & Darkelf Assassins and also ends up being immune against knockback. Since Shadowmage is not as mobile as the Stormsinger it can't outrun the Razorshard attacks really quickly. This also makes the matchup simple to play from a strategic pattern. stack Razorshards, add stormsingers against Nightcrawlers and intercept Harvester with Lightblade (purple). At this rate you only have to play around the enemies AoE spells (Aura of Corruption, Corpse Explosion, Nasty Surprise) and accumulate advantages up to the point where power wells start dropping. Due to Nightguard nerfs Stonetempest and Crystal Fiend are strong snowball options in this matchup again. You usually get a time window to attack the enemies base once all 12 Shadowmage charges are depleted, because the power level of pure Shadow T2 drops significantly at this rate with void level being too low to take a T3 successfully. It’s best to play around choke points and small areas to increase the efficiency of cc spells and Razorshard AoE. If you get ahead you should always consider blocking T3 positions if possible (use Ice Barrier when starting Frost T1), because Voidstorm will be really annoying to play against in the later stages of the game.

(2) Stonekin vs Fire Frost (-)

This is a great matchup for Stonekin after your T1 options got buffed to secure an even early game. Stoneshards and Spirithunters can support your Stormsingers in this matchup to outtrade the Fire Frost player in any situation. You need to respect shielded Scythe Fiends, but with Aggressor this shouldn’t be a major threat. Stoneshards trade well into any ground unit besides Icefang Raptor, which gets attacked by Stormsinger. Your setup to find good open field trades is excellent and once you find them you can start leveraging your tempo leads by including L units into your composition. Stonetempest is a great option in this matchup due to its powerful M-knockback. Due to the stonekin passive + surge of Light synergy Tempest can also outlast extended trades against shielded Skyfire Drakes to overwhelm your opponent on the long run. Aggressor would be another great tool in multi unit compositions because the L knockback is just amazing against Skyfire Drakes and as long as there are enough damage sources you even get value from his knockback without any L units around. Once Skyfire Drakes are out of the way you can also add an uncontested Crystal Fiend. This should help overwhelming your opponent by outtrading him at his own base and countering the entire Fire Frost kit on the long run. Once your enemy can’t use his unit spell combos to burst your units, the Crystal Fiend healing will generate endless value over time. Playing for T3 is also a possibility, but keep in mind that Timeless One mirror scaling might favor Fire Frost due to the access to Warlock. 

(3) Stonekin vs Bandits (-)

The most valuable advice we can give in this matchup is to play the correct units. Bandits has great tools against Stoneshards, Spirit Hunters and Stone Tempest, but absolutely no answer to Stormsinger + CC support. Playing around this simple pattern is the most reliable way of generating an advantage against Bandits. Bandit Stalker and Spearmen can be kited, Darkelf Assassins can’t be stacked due to Hurricane and Minefield is way too slow to catch Stormsingers in time. Leveraging tempoleads from this trading advantage should be easy by adding Burrowers considering Bandit Stalker can be zoned off by your Stormsinger army. Bandit Sniper always needs to be pressured considering the ability can oneshot Stormsinger if left uncontested. This shouldn’t be a major concern due to your mobility and strong cc options. Your only enemy in T2 will be  energy scaling. If the void level rises, high tempo execution gets more and more difficult over time, whereas Bandits have amazing tools to dump energy without losing significant value. Rallying Banner spam attacks are incredibly strong on higher energy counts and with more units to take care of across the map it is much more likely to walk into a Minefield or get caught by an Aura of Corruption. If constant spell weaving allows Bandits to trade towards a stage where T3 is a possibility, the matchup also starts to be much closer again. Bandit Lancer split attacks are very powerful and can only partially be matched by using your M-knockback tools from T2. Combined with the threat of facing a double buffed Soulhunter this can be really tough to deal with. Timeless One + Stone Warrior would be the best response here. Overall it might not be the easiest matchup in terms of execution, but you can dominate it with some practice.

(4) Stonekin vs Twilight (-) 

Twilight is a melee unit heavy T2 faction which is countered by Stormsinger stacking with CC support. This will be the core feature of your unit army, apart from that you can just adapt based on your enemies unit choices. Try to split well in order to avoid getting hit by Lavafield or CC and stack up advantages by using your own spells. Spirit Hunters & Frostbite can provide some extra dps against ravaged units and with either Lightblade or Aggressor you have solid counters for Vileblood. You usually struggle the most when falling behind in the early T2 stage, because Siege attacks might force you to invest all your power into crowd control and building protects, so you can't really start stacking units to generate value. Once there is 1 Vileblood or 2 burrowers the dps often is high enough to outvalue your defensive capabilities. Avoid taking risks in T1 to avoid such scenarios. You need to be proactive and win on T2, because at T3 Nightshade Plant mind games might be very dangerous to play against.

Skill matchups

(5) Stonekin vs Pure Nature (↓) 

Stormsinger stacking is a great tool to deal with nature, because the unit is immune to most of its crowd control sources. Nature often has to rely on Deep One (+ability) to get any good trades done, which rarely ends up being power efficient if you kite well. Zoning Energy Parasites with Stormsingers is the highest priority, because you will need some time until you have a critical mass that can push the nature player back into his base and threaten power wells. Blocking Energy Parasites from getting their ability off needs to be prioritized as it’s the only option for pure nature to come out ahead. Crystal Fiend can be a great addition to the unit mix, because pure nature does lack burst damage leading to much higher healing values. But playing the card early is very risky because it dies to a single Parasite spell after the card received some buffs. It requires Surge of Light support in return to stay alive. As Nature often relies on Deep One scaling to stay relevant, Lightblade can be really useful on higher unit count. In T3 the player with more slots usually ends up being favored, but Parasite Swarm can be annoying if you play without XL units, so finishing the game in T2 usually is preferred. On a side note: Even though you might start in a mirror matchup in T1, Stonekin T2 is much better at dealing with larger T1 armies than pure nature T2, making it much more flexible and forgiving in the early game.

(6) Stonekin vs Shadow Frost (-) 

This matchup favors you on T2. Considering most trading patterns consist of Stormsinger versus Stormsinger it ends up being beneficial, because you have superior crowd control. Using this to build up small leads by constant trading you can accumulate these small wins and increase the pressure constantly. Once you get to remove all units from your opponent you can start adding Burrowers for increased Siege potential to finish the game. Shadow Frost often tries to play defensive and utilize undazed Darkelf Assassin spawns as well as Nasty Surprise. Playing with tempo is extremely important, because if you fall behind heavy use of Lost Reaver + Stormsinger can be difficult to deal with. You often lack dps to remove the Reaver in time when utilizing the Aggressor against tempo deficits. Aura of Corruption needs to be respected, but when playing around mobile units you can avoid it, offensive Cannon Tower might be a niche counter too. Don’t let the game go to 6+ wells quickly, because Souls T3 usually ends up being problematic to deal with unless you invest at least 4-5 deck slots into your own T3. But even then you aren't favored, so opting for a win at T2 usually produces the best results. Force open field trades by contesting T3 spots and put pressure on your opponent if he tries to well up. If you get ahead try to take map control and stay close to your opponent. A greedy T3 attempt is a great opportunity for you to close a game with a Burrower spam.

(7) Stonekin vs Amii (↑)

This matchup often results in a traditional Stormsinger vs Amii Phantom micro war. The M/M ranged unit management really determines the outcome of this matchup and if Shadow Nature gets ahead the deck can be an overwhelming force rather quickly. But as long as you play very controlled, split your Stormsingers against cc and don’t make major mistakes you will be able to win in later stages of T2. First of all Stormsinger does have more charges than Amii Phantom and on top of that a few extra Razorshards get really strong at later stages once many Stormsingers are on the board. The extra range on Razorshard allows you to root down Darkelf Assassins and Amii Phantoms and with heavy unit stack it is so difficult to dodge the AoE damage and M-knockback leading to great trades. With enough Stormsingers to protect them from Amii Phantom’s melee disable mode this usually leads to an overwhelming force that ultimately wins you the game. After Nightguard received a nerf you also can consider playing Crystal Fiend in this matchup now, which works incredibly well during such extended trades. Do not get baited into Stonetempest as Amii Phantom still hard counters it. Amii Paladins are not a big threat to you as long as you play around the ability cooldown. T3 should be avoided as Shadow Nature has various options to apply strong pressure from split pressure to fully buffed XL unit. 

(8) Stonekin vs Pure Frost (↓)

Usually the T2 is played in a very slow manner, which is good for you to establish very powerful unit setups, but also problematic as you might struggle punishing well stacking to a point, where T3 becomes a realistic option. Frost usually has more slots available to build a powerful T3, therefore wins these types of scaling games. Winning T2 is very important due to that and requires very aggressive gameplay at some point, where you ideally contest T3 positions or cut off map control by attacking Frost’s mobility restrictions. Stormsinger + Spirit Hunters usually do trade very well on low energy count, but get outscaled by War Eagles. Once you get ahead or establish map control, Aggressor or Stone Tempest might be valuable additions to deal with War Eagles, especially when you get to force the enemy to trade with you. Crystal Fiend is a great tool in this matchup to leverage leads, because Frost doesn’t have very reliable tools to burst it down. Avoid close bases at all cost, because it strengthens War Eagle gameplay and also supports White Rangers. Burrowers are not an option during T2, but can be strong at punishing both a long T1 and an early T3 giving you an edge during transitions. T3 will be difficult to play unless you invest little slots into T2, Thunderstorm is very useful for such strategies as it enables faster T3 timings. The high AoE damage can remove T2 pushes easily and effectiveness is even amplified due to War Eagles being too slow to outmaneuver it. 

Difficult matchups

(9) Stonekin vs pure Fire (↓↓)

The introduction of Burning Spears highly changed the dynamic of this matchup as pure Fire now has an entirely new option for early game trading. This makes it much harder to establish leads and snowballing with low dps L-units is not an option either. Stoneshards remain as your best trading tools in this matchup as they outvalue Scythe Fiends and counter Enforcer, but to beat pure Fire entirely you will need ranged and spell support. If pure Fire manages to survive the early gamestage by utilizing defenders advantage the matchup dynamic quickly turns around, because the traditional s-sized melee units lose their value at higher power counts due to limited focus fire options upon being spammed and their weakness against zoning dps spells like Wildfire. At some point you may collapse to the relentless aggression pure Fire can throw at you. To prevent this from happening you need to be proactive during T2 and constantly acquire advantages by trading around your powerful cc tools. With many small wins you might be able to opt for a power well focus as long as you avoid high value wildfire or Lavafield. Your decision making and micro needs to be on point here as your Siege damage in this matchup is rather low, Burrowers against Enforcer is definitely not advised. In T3 you need to stabilize around Stone Warrior and try to match the Juggernaut pressure by playing around the Disenchant cooldown to utilize the Shatter Lance ability. This can work, but isn’t a guaranteed success, because one misplay around the Stampede ability is game over.

 

[ SHADOW FROST / LOST SOULS ]
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1. Deck description

Lost Souls was one of the most played decks in PvP... for a good reason! The deck is the most solid one with no big weakness and an outstanding defence. A wide pool of units allows you to adept to any situation. With a fantastic T3 as backup you can play a very controlled game, whenever you get ahead in a match. You can constantly stay ahead in powerwells (the +1 game) up to a point where you can afford to switch into the T3 stage, where you'll most likely win.

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Alternative deck

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2. Matchup discussion

Easy matchups:

(1) Lost Souls vs Fire Frost (-)

Fire Frost is rather easy to play for you, because you aren't forced to make proactive decisions in T2. You just need to defend incoming attacks and scale into your superior T3. As long as you stay even in T2 there is nothing you need to fear in T3. In T2 you can defend Scythe Fiends & Skyfire drakes easily with a combination of Darkelf Assassins and Stormsinger with Frostbite support. Try to split well against Lavafield at later T2 stages and try to target Frost Sorcs during skirmishes. This will heavily limit the amount of pressure Fire Frost gets to apply on the long run. Try to utilize your spells for burst oriented trades (Frostbite, Nasty Surprise) rather than extended ones (Coldsnap) to avoid maximized shield synergy and Warlock value. If you get ahead during trades, you can try to utilize Lost Reavers to launch powerful counter attacks. T3 will be in your favor as you have better units, more slots and superior spell synergies. 

Skillmatchups:

(2) Lost Souls vs Twilight (-)

You can defend Burrower attacks with a very high efficiency in the early game and establish a very solid lead, that can be used to transition into a T3, where Fire Nature doesn't stand a real chance. If you get strong leads you can either opt for split attacks or Lost Reaver to apply pressure. The latter one might struggle against Slaver though, who is powerful against melee L units specifically. The most dangerous game stage is late T2, where double Burrower + Skyfire attacks with massive nature cc support are powerful enough to overload your building protects. Make sure to respect their mobility and try to take down Skyfire Drakes as early as possible. Try to split your units well when defending because once the void level gets really high, double Lavafield is a dangerous tool to remove all your small units (Stormsinger, Nightcrawler and Darkelf Assassins die to it). Try to find a good time window in order to tech up to T3 as this is your main win condition in this matchup. On a sufficient energy level Timeless one can withstand a massive Burrower push, if the Fire Nature player decides to rush you at that point. At T3 Mutating Maniac and Nightshade Plant both need to be respected but your T3 trading is superior and you will come out ahead in the long run.

 

(3) Lost Souls vs Pure Nature (-)

You are slightly favored in T3, but at a disadvantage in T2. Therefore, it is important to play towards your win condition in order to come out ahead. Deep One is really hard to deal, especially with Parasite being a cost effective counter to Nightguard. On top of that you always need to zone Energy Parasites with Stormsinger. This has to be your number one priority before you start thinking about anything else. If you want to attack nature you need to make sure to either split attack or surround your enemy. A good unit split will allow you to catch the more expensive nature units by using Frostbite without running into a cc spell with your entire army. This concept is extremely helpful to get rid of Spirit Hunters quickly. A strong split attack is the best setup for any Motivate -> wellfocus plays. L units aren't a reliable option against Parasite Swarm or Deep One, so generally try to stay away from Lost Reaver when facing pure Nature. T3 remains in your favor, but be careful whenever your opponent splashes towards Fire here. Mutating Maniac, Parasite Swarm, Disenchant is not as easy to beat and Nightshade Plant can overload your building protects. Apart from that Timeless One dominates the field and buffed Lost Grigori is very strong at taking out structures. Always track how much Surge of Light got used during T3 as this heavily impacts your chances of winning T3. You win the game whenever Surge of Light charges are depleted.

(4) Lost Souls vs Bandits (↑)

Bandits are fairly challenging to play against nowadays. You can't really utilize Nightcrawler against Bandit Stalker, Windhunter + Minefield limits the impact of Lost Reaver, Stormsinger always runs into the danger of getting targeted by the Bandit Sniper and Darkelf Assassins might struggle with the Minefield. Getting ahead against this setup is really difficult, but if you manage to do so the lack of cc and building protects will allow you to take down power wells very quickly. In return your defensive tools are fairly solid. Bandits do not have access to Siege units and Rallying Banner attacks are not as threatening due to Nasty Surprise, especially when combined with any high hp targets (lyrish knight, phalanx, lost reaver). Even though your T2 is a little bit more stable overall, T3 is very scary to play. Bandit Lancer spam can be really annoying to trade into, because you usually don't have a very powerful M counter in T3 and the active ability can prevent Timeless Ones from using theirs. Pressure only gets amplified if your enemy plays Motivate or Rallying Banner + Cultist Master. As all of these units are rather low hp ones, Frost Shard could be a strong addition to limit the early game pressure and enable scaling towards the later T3 stages. Bandits will run out of charges way before Lost Souls and Soulhunter is only a real threat whenever your opponent is far ahead. On the other hand Tremor can always build up pressure against Bandits even despite being matched by strong L counters. 

 

(5) Lost Souls vs Pure Shadow (-)

You do have solid tools to deal with pure Shadow, especially when playing Lyrish Knight. He is a great target for Nasty Surprise, an XL counter for the Harvester and also withstands the M-knockback of Shadowmages due to being steadfast. Darkelf Assassins + Frostbite are always good at trading and in combination with Stormsinger you can defend against most attacks. Once you get ahead, Lost Reaver is a strong option for attacking. Try to play him with Stormsingers, because pure Shadow likes to use the Knight of Chaos as an L-counter and protect the Lost Reaver with Liveweaving from incoming burst damage sources like Shadowmages or activated Darkelf Asssassins. Harvester needs to be respected, but its effectiveness is limited, unless the Shadow player has a lead beforehand. Frost Bite is really valuable against him and a combination of buildings protects and Coldsnap usually can buy enough time. If you have problems countering Harvester you can always add Lightblade (purple) to your deck. You ultimately want to build up towards 6 wells and a T3, but avoid having a power well close to the enemy's base. In close well scenarios pure Shadow is heavily favored because Shadowmage reaches its maximum potential at these kinds of fights. On top of that, close well fights end up getting really bloody increasing the risk of running into a super high value Corpse explosion. As the damage aoe damage cap is extremely high, it often pays off to avoid building full well clusters and expand at different positions. Your T3 usually is a little bit better, this pays off the most on large maps, whenever Cultist Master value is reduced. If you expect a Voidstorm to be played either try to save some power or force counter units beforehand if possible so you avoid a huge negative trade allowing you to apply pressure with your Tremors once the Voidstorm is on cooldown. Keep in mind Voidstorm only has 4 charges and spell cooldown is vastly increased afterwards.

(6) Lost Souls vs Pure Frost (↓)

Nightguard nerfs were very strict nerfs to Lost Souls in this particular matchups. You mainly need to rely on Darkelf Assassins and Frostbite when trading against War Eagles, but it will require further support whenever you want to break throught the strong Frost defence. Avoid cliff areas to make War Eagles more vulnerable overall and be careful with activating the unholy trance ability from Darkelf Assassins when near your opponents base, because the immobility can be heavily punished by White Rangers. After accumulating unit advantages you can throw in Lost Reaver to build up pressure, but without Stormsinger support he won’t perform well against Mountain Rowdy and Lightblade. Overall beating pure Frost at T2 is difficult, but as Frost T1 will be unable to contest map control, you can stall games to T3 more often than not. Aura of Corruption is a basic tool to punish the slow War Eagles. You can also make use of Nasty Surprise defenses when comboing the spell with Lost Reaver. Phalanx + Nasty is even more effective at one-shotting up to 3 War Eagles, which is a niche combo worth considering in this matchup. This matchup has a very defensive play pattern at T2 because both factions do have severe advantages when playing around their own power wells. On open field trades you usually do have the upper hand, which can be used to establish a good position on the map. Combined with the higher mobility in T1 you might be able to block all T3 positions from your enemy. If the game goes to T3 vs T3, you mostly need to respond to Tremor attacks by using Timeless One + counter units and protecting your buildings with spells. Lost Grigori can shine in this matchup as he beats Tremor, Lancers, Timeless One combos with his taunt and also hard counters any cheese attempts around Avatar of Frost. Nasty Surprise tends to scale very well in this matchup, because it often adds the needed extra burst to take down power wells.

(7) Shadow Frost vs Stonekin (-)

Stonekin can be a really uncomfortable matchup, because its defensive capabilities match yours in T2 and with superior cc their Stormsingers usually are better on open field. Avoiding these types of trades is really important for that reason. Utilize defenders' advantage to adapt based on the enemies unit composition and set up some efficient trades by surprising your opponent with a good Nasty Surprise. If you get to achieve this you can well up as quickly as possible. You want the energy level to rise as quickly as possible considering you win at T3 most likely and attacking in T2 is not an option. Nightcrawlers get hard countered by Stoneshards and Reaver attacks only end up being an option when your opponent takes a greedy power well. In T3 your odds of winning are most likely higher considering Stonekin suffers from slot restrictions. But don’t tunnel into passive scaling whenever your opponent allows you to do so as stonekin could also play a large T3 and sacrifice deck strength elsewhere. But most people cut their T3 in Stonekin to have a more powerful and flexible T2. Whenever you play T3 vs full T2 Silverwindlancer + Nasty is a very important burst combo and will grant you incredible value.

Difficult matchups:

(8) Shadow Frost vs Pure Fire (-)

Pure Fire is really difficult to deal with, especially when you end up falling behind in this matchup. Enforcer is superior to Nightcrawler and Stormsinger which allows the Fire player to protect a Firedancer who constantly throws fireballs at your power well. This forces you to spend many resources into protecting your buildings. If you don’t break free by finding a good nasty, this leads to very inefficient trading patterns. In case the Firedancer is able to use a cliff as protection you are in serious trouble so avoid taking any of these positions when facing a pure Fire player. Your best chance of getting good trades is a powerful nasty surprise and good use of Frostbite during trades. If you get ahead you can try utilizing your Lost Reaver to destroy a powerwell. It is ideally paired with Darkelf Assassins as they can help deal with Burning Spears without getting hard countered by Enforcer like most M units. Lifeweaving will help against Wildfire, especially when you are aware that your opponent has not enough energy to follow up with an immediate disenchant. In addition to that Juggernaut is insanely strong, even strong enough to break through a Timeless One T3. Tremors do not keep up in tempo and whereas Aura might be enough to remove one Juggernaut, experienced Fire players will fully commit once they have two. Double Juggernaut can not be matched unless you are very far ahead to counter them with the Lost Grigoris disintegration spell (not reliable due to significantly higher upfront costs.

(9) Shadow Frost vs Amii (-)

Amii has a distinctive advantage in the early T2. The faction has similar units (Nighcrawler + Darkelf Assassins + Amii Phantom vs Night Crawler + Darkelf Assassins + Stormsinger) and superior cc which allows your opponent to set up better trades all the time. This leads to a survival game, because low hp unit spam can be removed through AoE tools (Nasty Surprise, Aura of Corruption) and split Lost Reaver attacks get more value over time. Try to spawn him very close to the enemies base, because Shadow Nature likes to play Darkelf Assassins or Amii Phantom + Root against them. Do not send your Reaver alone as Tranquility might lead to constant cc rotations which are really hard to break otherwise. Your main goal isn't necessarily kicking power wells, it is more about relieving pressure and buying time. T3 stage is highly beneficial for you as Timeless One can minimize the impact of Cultist Master attacks unless you play a close base scenario and Amii straight up collapses to Tremor spam whenever you get to set up a counter attack. 

 

Conclusion

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This overview is getting longer with every overhaul. I hope this wall of text is not too intimidating (>27.000 words) and provides helpful information to you!
 

What to expect in the future and last words:
We will keep this guide updated every few patch cycles (tier list at the start will be adjusted more frequently). We all know PvP is difficult to get into, but we will try our best to lower some of the barriers whenever possible. If you have any questions feel free to ask us in this thread or on one of the skylords discord servers. If you are entirely new to PvP, test some of the free PvP decks, look for a deck you like to play and adjust it until you find your own playstyle. External ressources (guides, videos etc.) can help a lot to understand the basics quicker and get to the point where PvP starts to be the fantastic and enjoyable game mode, that kept us playing for so many years. Hope you enjoyed reading, let's keep the PvP community active and see you in the Forge!

Best regards,
Hirooo & RadicalX

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  • Majora changed the title to Updated: BattleForge PvP deck overview - by Hirooo & RadicalX 2.0

Can not belive I am the first to comment.

This is a hidden Gem of the anniversary content.

I think I (re)read the first guide for longer now than you guys have been writing it and am overjoyed to read this one too.

Unsurprisingly I started with the Fire/Frost part but was a bit irritated by some of the card choices, like

  • Frost-T1 without Lightblade but Glyph _and_ Coldsnap, or
  • Frost-T1 without Frostbite but Eruption (homesoiled Shielddrake + Frostbite may shred through a ravaged Windhunter even after patch and you have buffed units afterwards),
  • Brannoc without Disenchant or Gladiatrix... while you have access to tremor,
  • no Mountaineer (even though you mention him as contributor for the few "easier" matchups), and lastly
  • Frost-T1 without Frost Mage (that one bugged me the most... isn't that card almost mandatory vs. T1 Nature & Frost?).

Therefore I would recommend something like this for FrostFire (or substituting FrostMage for LyrishKnight, following your logic):

FrostFire.thumb.png.d72fdec9e02f86bd1b74c3cd1bde5e4f.png

In addition, to me the matchup against PureShadow appears way easier than against PureFrost, IF you add the mentioned Lightblade. But even without, a lot opponents crumble to simply Stormsinger-Spam + Lavafield-Support. While against PureFrost it feels more like against NatureT1 with FireT1, where you have to threaten them cross map to prevent their doom-push as long as possible.

Edited by Xanatoss
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A few months ago I asked RadicalX if he would be interested in updating the PvP guide, since I used the old one so much when I was starting out. I never expected it to turn into this 22.000 words of awesomeness though! Im really happy with how it turned out, and I hope it will help others with their start into PvP. Thanks a lot for your hard work RadicalX and Hiroooo!

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@Xanatoss Thanks for your feedback. To add some clarification towards deck building options, we would like to add another section at some point, that specifically focusses on how to adjust the free PvP decks based on individual preferences as well as matchup performance. I will keep that comment in mind, when writing those. 

 

Hope this will be helpful for all of you. Also big shoutouts to @Majora, who really supported us at making this guide look so much better compared to our previous wall of text xD

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20 hours ago, RadicalX said:

@Xanatoss Thanks for your feedback. To add some clarification towards deck building options, we would like to add another section at some point, that specifically focusses on how to adjust the free PvP decks based on individual preferences as well as matchup performance. I will keep that comment in mind, when writing those. 

 

Hope this will be helpful for all of you. Also big shoutouts to @Majora, who really supported us at making this guide look so much better compared to our previous wall of text xD

Maybe you could team up with @Eirias in that regard. His guide on Deckbuilding was really helpful too, as I rejoined Skylords :]
 

But my question stands: Almost all mentioned card-choices can be considered flavor/preference, except for Frost Mage. Is it even possible to play anything beyond 1 Well into T2 without that card vs Frost (except closewell iceguardian opportunities) and especially vs Nature T1?

Edited by Xanatoss
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On 12/20/2021 at 3:32 PM, Xanatoss said:

But my question stands: Almost all mentioned card-choices can be considered flavor/preference, except for Frost Mage. Is it even possible to play anything beyond 1 Well into T2 without that card vs Frost (except closewell iceguardian opportunities) and especially vs Nature T1?

You can play T1 without Frostmage as long as you play Glyph to punish hit & run unit stacking strategies (Frostmagespam, Firesworns, Shamans etc.) once power level goes up. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

To everyone who still finds the PvP scene intimidating or has no idea where to start; every Wednesday evening Toggy hosts his Fightclub stream. Here you can watch PvP matches with commentary or participate yourself and get some helpful tips. Personally it has helped me a lot to understand both advantage and disadvantage better. 

You can check the stream here, it usually starts somewere around 18:00/19:00.

Another tool is our Tutor discord. Here you can ask for advice and tips from more experienced players. 

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  • Majora changed the title to Updated: BattleForge PvP Guide - by Hirooo & RadicalX 2.0
  • Majora featured this topic
  • 2 weeks later...

Out of interest, I have tried to visualise this large amount of ordinal evaluations. Here are my results:

Each line contains the ratings of the guide, weighted by the categories "favourable / skill / difficult matchup" (see legend below right).

In each column, this results in the additional perspective "How does every other deck perceive the strength of this deck?"

From this, a total value can be aggregated column by column, which I then scaled, once against the deck with the highest value (Stonekin; line 13) and once against the theoretical maximum value (line 14).
Column L also describes the distance to the theoretical maximum value or "How much better would the deck have to be for each matchup to be favourable?".

For comparison, I have also included the guide ratings for the overall decks and NPEs.

image.thumb.png.c76dbe94cf0ee03cc4007f8f86e319a1.png

Edited by Xanatoss
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